Last week, we talked about Madonna’s continued success and probed the attributes that have contributed to her long and successful career. We went over the first two valuable lessons that we can learn from Madonna on establishing ourselves and remaining relevant (in vogue) throughout our careers:
1) Discovering your talents and 2) Applying your talents.
This week we will cover these lessons:
- Develop a strong work ethic.
- Stay relevant.
- Do not listen to detractors.
- Dare to push boundaries.
Develop a strong work ethic.
Regardless of your job, developing a strong work ethic will work to your advantage. Do not be the type of employee who bolts when it is time to go home. Instead, make certain that your work is caught up and your customers (internal or external) have been kept up-to-date. Don’t leave anyone or anything hanging. Conversely, if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Be known as the person who can be trusted to get the job done. If you are faithful in a small role, you may just find more responsibility coming your way.
In addition, be helpful to your co-workers. If your “to-do” list is current, ask others if they need any assistance. Be helpful! This is a way to foment good relationships within the office. Keep your feet firmly grounded. No one is too good to make coffee, change a paper towel roll or anything else that needs attention. Never let “it’s not my job” enter your vocabulary.
You have probably heard that “the only constant is change.” The most successful people know when change must be made and they embrace it. Never stop learning! Look for professional development opportunities both inside and outside of work. Work on your weak areas. If you have difficulty with public speaking, join a Toastmaster’s or similar group. Pursue certifications in your field, and keep abreast of changes in your occupation and in technology. Further, pursue experiences outside your normal role by volunteering for special projects. Don’t allow yourself to stagnate. Don’t allow yourself to become overly comfortable. Never rest on your laurels. Pursue personal excellence!
Do not listen to detractors.
The world of work can be rough and tumble. Career fields and corporate cultures combine to determine the work environment. Some environments can be more difficult than others. In fact, some might even be considered toxic. If you find yourself in one of these environments, you will need to learn to deal with critics.
The key to dealing with detractors is to not let them bring you down. Certainly listen to their criticism with an ear to discovering ways to improve, but don’t take unwarranted condemnation to heart. Learn to use criticism constructively. To do this well, you may want to form an informal advisory group and ask for occasional advice and feedback.
Dare to push boundaries.
There may be times in your career where opportunity seems nowhere to be found. Sometimes, that will be due to tight organizational structure. It is also possible to work for someone who does not recognize or value your skills. At those times, you may have to push a few boundaries to enlarge yourself. You may need to find an advocate and network within the organization toward another role. This may also be a good time to pursue opportunities outside the workplace. Perhaps you have a passion for something that could open other doors for you. The crucial thing to note is that you are your own career manager. Take charge of it! Do not allow yourself to be a victim of circumstance.
Good luck in your future endeavors!
As Assistant Director of Recruiting within the Wake Forest Schools of Business Employer Relations team,Lisa’s passion is connecting employers with student talent and creating a positive experience for both. She manages all aspects of recruiting, retention, and systems for the graduate business school. Her strengths include relationship management, networking, social media engagement, information aggregation, process facilitation and communication. Lisa has been employed at Wake Forest since the fall of 2002. She has over 20 years of work experience in various roles. Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, she was an entrepreneur, venturing into web-based international sales and marketing of salvage automotive parts and accessories. Before that, she was a trust officer in the Employee Benefit Trust area of Wachovia Bank. Lisais also a veteran of the United States Air Force. Lisa earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Rollins College and a Masters in Liberal Arts from Wake Forest. Visit Lisa’s blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.