I was an employee half my career life, climbing the corporate ladder with much enthusiasm. Why I describe it as an exciting experience is because it was truly FUN, looking back now. The great challenge has always been to see how high I could climb. I’d reached where I wanted to be and more.
Being an employee isn’t such a bad thing altogether. You clock in and out and then have a life outside the office. You don’t have to carry the weight of the whole company on your shoulders (as bosses do). You are only responsible for your own scope of work, that’s it. You can go on leave when you want a vacation, you can go on medical leave when you are ill, you can literally leave the desk for a week without worrying about anything much!
Office politics? It’s everywhere, not only happening in big corporations. I can’t understand why must there be office politics? If the same amount of effort, time, strategic thinking and attention are applied on the right thing, i.e. in performing your work, I think not only will your boss be happy with you, you will be too! Productivity will be high, so would your reward.
Naturally, there would be “recruiters” going around to get people to join their camps. If you take sides, you don’t know for sure which is the winning team. Bear in mind, the winning team today may not be one tomorrow. Being neutral doesn’t mean you are a fence-sitter. You just know who you are and what you are there for….to earn a good living and have a bright career. When dealing with fellow colleagues, being diplomatic is wise. Do move around in the social circle, be friendly. Steering clear from trouble-makers but remain polite.
Perform your best at work. If you have been working with your current boss for some years, you would have understood his way of working. The ability to think ahead will be brilliant! Bosses always prefer staffs to be pro-active; making suggestions for improvement or provide solutions. Even if it is not the correct answer, at least you take the initiative to try. That tells a lot about your attitude towards work.
When you are new to the job or project, learn like a sponge. Don’t hesitate to volunteer and do a bit more. By being mentally and physically involved in the job, you will certainly learn faster. If you don’t know, it is okay to admit it but be willing to learn. What you have learnt will be with you forever, it is an asset.
Always ask when you are unsure of your position or the direction the company is heading. Get to know the company’s short, mid and long-term plan. This will help you plan your career growth in that company. Bosses always enjoy working with a team, with common goal and understanding. Be a team player.
If you have been a performer with great results, come year-end performance evaluation, if the situation is right, have courage to ask for a raise. If there is an opening for a more senior position and you know you are up to it, inform your immediate superior that you would like to apply for that position. Do not make the common mistake many employees make, i.e. always believe that bosses will know what you’ve done over the year and will reward you automatically. You have to ASK! Bosses have many things on their mind, but to count your achievements is not one of them.
Being an employer isn’t easy, or else, everyone will be a boss, isn’t it? It looks cool and easy on the outside but what goes on inside is a mystery. Sometimes, there are no off days , not even weekends and medical leave for bosses. Working more than 10 hours a day is a norm. These happen when the business is at the growth stage. If you have “landed”, meaning the business has matured, then you can enjoy the fruit of your hard labour. What many envied are what they see of the matured businesses. To get there, one must go through the rags before riches, unless you receive a windfall or inheritance. Anyone in business who built it from scratch have many sob stories behind it. It is from that hardship which make them stronger and more determined to succeed. Once they reached the top, they deserve to enjoy the fruit of their hard labour, more than anybody else. I have high respect for these business people. They understand extremely well what life is all about….
In business, you have to go through teething problems first; like initial business set up, marketing and sales, then partners and employees issues. When your business started to grow, you will have to stay current and be innovative to ensure you maintain your spot in the business world. If being ordinary isn’t satisfying, you must do something out of norm to be the first in the market. You have to keep cracking your head for new ideas, solutions, applications, etc. It is not peculiar to find employers working through the nights. They have to continuously think about the sales, employees issues, cash-flow, etc. When there is any constraint, employees’ benefits always come first before theirs.
Communication from top down is most important to garner continuous support and loyalty from the staff members. Let every member know your directions and plans so that they can work in the same tune with you. Ensure every head of department convey the right messages to their members, steering them towards one direction, to meeting your goals and objectives. Delegate tasks to the right employees and empower them to act. This makes them feel important and act as motivation for them to work harder to produce better results. We can’t deny the fact that everyone likes to feel important. Why not accord that to your star employees. You need to give in order to receive more. Act as a mentor to capable assistants so that they can take away some tasks from you. Learn to let go a little. That will free you up for better and more important things to do. Things like planning and strategizing, networking, creating business opportunities, etc.
All in all, I feel that as long as you carry out your role well, regardless if you are an employee or employer, you can never go too wrong. There is no short cut to success. Just learn from your mistakes and that of others. Keep moving forward.
All the best!