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January 30, 2009


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I agree with all except make the coffee. I work in a male-dominated field and unfortunately women tend to get pigeon-holed into the coffee, party planning, admin duties all too often.

All good ideas, but the top of the list should be making your boss look good to the next boss up. If you're the one that puts together the pretty report for the Department Head meetings, or the one that does work that makes customers or colleagues tell the execs "Wow, so-and-so's group is really on the ball" I can guarantee you'll be viewed as brilliant and indispensable.

I don't know, the original list seems to be a list of things to make yourself look good when your not good at your job. Your performance should speak for itself, but sometimes your boss needs to be shown your performance.

I would replace Beat the Clock, with being reliable and punctual, not just showing up early.

Volunteering strategically is a good one when you volunteer for the right projects.

Being the printer guru should be replaced with being the guru about all aspects of your job and your department. The more you know, the better. Of course, knowing things seems to be a hard thing to accomplish for some people.

Creating procedures is a good one.

Faking an email trail is a bad idea, but keeping your boss in the loop is good.

The other ones just seem kind of brown nosing.

This should be called bullshitting 101. Unfortunately this is what you need to do to stay alive at many corporate cultures. My advice would be to leave this type of company and find a new one with a better environment. But that's just me.

What ever happened to delivering actual results and being measured on that?

Given the activities manufactured in this article, I'd say this hypothetical company has way too much fat.

I don't mind if my employees come in late as long as the results are coming. If the results aren't there then I'm drilling down into their work habits to find the issue. Then again if the results are good and they aren't working much, I would load them up with more projects. But I'd also look to advance the heck out of their career!

-Big C.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

Jean Giraudoux

Big C. is right. This list is OK if you are a clerk, but accomplishments and skills are what really important if you are at a higher level position. As to being on time - there are jobs where it is important and there are jobs where the schedules are fairly flexible. Where I work nobody cares when you come and go or how I spend my time. It's the results that matter.

Regarding emails - it'd important that you manager knows important things you are involved in or important problems you solve. However sending a copy of every note to the manager may indicate that you cannot handle problems on your own and need manager's involvement. Besides, it's extremely annoying to your co-workers if you cc to the manager for every little problem.

"Volunteering strategically" makes sense if it means that you take on new responsibilities, but still make sure you don't take on more than you can handle. I'd replace "become the printer guru" with "become an expert in critical areas". But don't get too comfortable about being an expert in something, learn other technologies as well.

Nowhere in the list did I see anything about keeping your skills current. If your work has anything to do with science and technology, it's absolutely critical to not allow your skills to become outdated. Just being able to learn new technologies quickly is a necessary skill in itself. Always ask yourself - how am I better than new college graduates? Just because you have more experience in doing specific thing doesn't mean you are better than someone whose skills may be more current.

I'd replace saying "thanks" and "good morning" with "be polite with everyone". This includes a cashier in a cafeteria: the cashier will not fire you for rudeness, but a person standing in line after you might just not like the type of person who is rude. The same person may become your manager some day or a manager of a group you'd like to transfer to.

But... In a large corporation, nothing may help. We just had a round of layoffs (after good earnings - ours is one of the few companies that are still profitable and gave good guidance). I survived (for now), but I know some people that were laid off, and it's just mind-boggling. I don't know everyone, but I know a few people, and some of them had everything including good evaluations and most recent skills (and other things, like patents).

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