There are a lot of people who go to work every day just waiting for, and hoping for, an opportunity to get out of their current position. They get up every morning dreading the thought of going into that place one more time. They feel like they have been skipped over for promotions, looked down on because of their perceived low position in the company, and stuck where they are until something better comes along.
I used to be one of those people. I continually worried that I might never move up the ladder of success. I’ve worked several jobs, performing a wide variety of duties. But, here I am, 46 years old and have learned the pathway to advancement and I want to share with you what I have learned. My hope is for you to be encouraged by my experiences and from what I have found out by watching others who seem to be drowning in their current positions. If you will take the information I’m about to share with you and apply it to your workplace, you may not become CEO, but you will be in much better position to climb out of the pit of discontentment.
1) Stop complaining.
This one is first on the list because it is the toughest. It is easy to complain about not making enough money, or how someone else received the promotion that should have gone to you, or that you’re tired of working so many hours. Our complaining is one of the biggest contributors to our lack of advancement. We wake up in the morning and dread going to work. "I wish I didn’t have to go into that place today." "I'm tired of dealing with these people." That feeling of dread, that doom-and-gloom attitude will bring us down quicker than anything. Plus, it will affect everybody we are around during the day. We must change our attitude if we want to move up. Stop complaining about everything. There is no room for complainers at the top. When you get up in the morning, make up your mind that it’s going to be a good day. Make up your mind that whatever you must do on the job will turn out great, simply because you have developed a positive attitude. Make up your mind that you won’t allow anyone to deter you from this new outlook with their snide remarks and childish behavior. Whether you realize it or not, your boss is as concerned about your attitude as much as, if not more, than your work. So, cheer up, think positive, and speak positively.
2) No matter what your position in the company, give that position everything you have.
When you do just enough to get by, your supervisors are taking notice and look at you as someone who doesn’t care. And someone who doesn’t care will not be moving into any position of authority or influence. They will remain right where they have been unless they are shown the door. When you put your all into a task or project, you are demonstrating a desire to see your company succeed. You are proving to the people around you that you care about the quality of your work, which is a direct indication of the quality of life you want to live. Give it your all and you will be rewarded.
3) Respect the people around you, all of them.
Don’t talk about other people who work for your company and run them into the ground. Don’t allow the rumor mill to be fueled by your tales of discontent and revenge. Speak up and defend your co-workers. Lend a hand if they need help. Don’t spread anger and spite for your supervisors simply because they made a decision that you didn’t like. Get over it and move on. Whether you are dealing with co-workers at ground level or the CEO of the company, display the same amount of respect to both. Goodness begets goodness, mercy begets mercy, and respect begets respect.
4) Let it be known, through your actions and your appropriate conversations with management, that you are open and willing to learn new things.
That shows that you have the incentive to succeed. They need to know that you want to build the company rather than just build your checking account. A company can only grow as much as its employees are willing to grow. Your willingness to learn demonstrates growth potential in you. When asked about work-related ideas or your plans in the future of the company, be honest. If you are looking to stick around and advance, tell them that. They want to know who is in it for the long haul.
5) Finally, become a problem solver.
If there are issues that you may have noticed concerning your job or something around you, don’t be afraid to approach a supervisor and be straight with them; "Hey, there is a problem with this machine and I may know a way that it can be fixed efficiently without needing to call in a specialist." Try that type of approach. You might have the answer to a problem that nobody else has thought of. If you can demonstrate a willingness to help the company while saving them money, you are a problem-solver. That makes you important to the success of the team. You have just become an asset rather than an instigator.
These actions have been invaluable to me. I have been working for a company for seven years and done everything that has been asked of me. I have not always been the easiest person to get along with. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I have come close to quitting several times. But things changed recently because I changed my approach. I was offered a promotion to a position that I knew nothing about and had no desire to even attempt. I was angry for the way the "opportunity" was presented to me and I complained like a big baby. But I came to a decision.
It occurred to me that I wasn’t giving this a chance. I have been told repeatedly through the years that I have a lot of potential for growth in our company. So, I made up my mind that I was going to go into this new position with a new attitude. I decided to attack this job, head-on. I determined to learn everything I could and grow quickly in knowledge and performance. I did it. I put my all into it. I stopped complaining about the way it was presented to me. I showed respect for everyone I encountered, both co-workers and customers. Then, wouldn’t you know, after about two months I was offered another promotion with a substantial raise. This position was something I was familiar with and the opportunity excited me. I firmly believe that had my attitude not changed two months earlier, I would not have moved up again.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. We can talk ourselves out of anything; happiness, peace, satisfaction, and dreams. If you want to move up in this life, you must rise above the status-quo mentality. Stop thinking and acting as if "doing just enough to get by" is good enough. Living a better life requires an attitude of excellence. You can do it if you want to. Give these steps a try. You don’t have to do it all at once. But if you want to move up, you must begin your transformation. Who knows? You may be the next Employee of the Year.