Contrary to popular perceptions, being ‘first one in, last one out’ is not the sure fire route to the top. At day’s end your boss (and their boss) are likely just as keen to get out of the office as you.
So, rather than burning the midnight oil and worrying it will go unnoticed, instead focus on being among the first in the office.
This is noticed. While it’s known some bosses will (grudgingly) lament some workers have left the office at day’s end, ALL bosses value someone on deck early. Being among the first in your office to arrive each day offers you the chance to be on top of your game, the potential to get handed more important tasks given ‘the guy who was meant to do them hasn’t got in yet’, and also gives you a more casual and informal setting to work.
Becoming breakfast buddies with your boss can only do wonders for your career; so be early.
Whether it is office politics or otherwise, it is early to get lost in the fray of the daily office grind.
It may be that your workplace is very busy, it may be that your current projects are part of a huge group effort, or it could be that other’s willingly claim credit for your work – whatever the reason; ensuring you communicate effectively is vital to your career advancement.
How to do this? Use email effectively. When you’ve finished a particular part of the project write a crisp email to your boss. Keep it neat and short – your boss reads a lot of emails – but doing this will ensure your contributions are clearly noted (and also identify you as someone accessible and engaged in the day-to-day of the business).
You can be the most talented professional in your field but if your public presentations are a bad assortment of mumbles, stumbles, and bumbles you’ll be unlikely to advance in your career. Though it is a huge misconception everyone need give a speech like Barack Obama – if you trend towards being a shyer soul it is perfectly OK to go for serviceable over stellar – you do need ensure nobody walks away unimpressed when they hear you speak.
Accordingly, be sure you can deliver a speech with clarity, confidence, and precision. If these skills don’t come to you naturally look up a public speaking group in your area and go learn how to do so. Lest this be seen as an outdated virtue in the internet age, the more we move to digital to more professionals who can deliver a great in-person presentation stand out; so be sure you’re among the brilliant.
Don’t be afraid to be a bit of a rebel in your current role. To be clear, this does not mean feet on the table during the weekly meeting or smoking cigarettes in the lunch room; rather just like an all-star athlete, be ready to take control of the game now and then to seek out a great result.
While it should be noted doing this can be a little risky – if your workplace prizes itself on a formal hierarchy, then start carefully if seeking to carve out your own identity – but just remember that leaders are leaders; and if you wish to be one in your field you have to have the confidence to ‘go it alone’ now and then when it comes to the best decisions for your career in your workplace.
Be respectful and helpful
You can arrive early at the office, write brilliant emails, give a dynamic speech and build a reputation as someone who is innovative in your role – but it can all be for naught if everyone you work with finds your insufferable personally.
So, be sure as you grow your career, that you also stand out as someone that respects and helps others. This doesn’t mean you can’t have professional disagreements, and you certainly don’t need to be the patron saint for that one person in your office who makes life hard for all others. It is important, however, to work hard at building relationships within your workplace as not only does this make for a more pleasant place to be each day, professional relationships with strong foundations are likely to be invaluable to you in the future.