The workplace is a world of its own. Depending on who’s in charge, morale and attitudes of coworkers, it can either be an enjoyable world or a miserable one. At this point in my career, I am blessed to work in a pretty peaceful environment. I have an understanding boss, and as long as I am doing my job, everything is usually fine. This has not always been the case. During times of workplace turbulence, and even when everything is going well, it is important to have some survival skills. Here are 10 Tips for surviving and thriving in the workplace.
- Be kind and helpful. Smile a lot. Try to view co-workers as team members instead of competitors.
- Choose your words and topics of conversation carefully! Avoid talking negatively about anyone else. Especially the boss. It will inevitably get back to him! Always watch what you say in all circumstances. If you work in an environment where there is sensitive information which should remain confidential, be extra careful that you don’t share something that is off limits. Also proceed with caution in sharing details of your personal life that an unscrupulous coworker could use against you. Never curse, use crude language or tell dirty jokes. You could end up getting fired!
- Be on time! This is a struggle in my own life, and has been for all my working years. It has gotten better, since I no longer have to get small children up and out the door with me, but being on time is not easy! However, it is extremely important, because to an employer, it says a lot about your work ethic. I have always had a strong work ethic, but I may have caused past employers to doubt it by arriving late, or “just in the nick of time”. Even being a minute or two late can leave a bad impression, so if possible, get to work a few minutes before you are scheduled to be there and give yourself some breathing room. Then if something goes wrong at the last minute, or you get caught by every red light, you can still make it to work on time. It really helps to make preparations for the next morning the night before. I try to have an outfit chosen and hanging in the bathroom, with shoes under it in the floor, towels and a washcloth waiting on the shower curtain rod, and a plan for breakfast and lunch. I can’t seem to function without breakfast, so having some quick and easy go-to meals can be a lifesaver. (Read more on this topic at http://www.mouchkainthemaking.com/?p=1829 )
- Work hard and do your best, even when the task at hand is less than pleasant, or when you see others slacking. You are there to do a job and you are getting paid for the time you put in. If you can make life easier for your boss, she will appreciate you for it. Try to be on top of things and handle details without having to be told when you know the expectations. If you don’t know the expectations, don’t be afraid to ask! Don’t be afraid to shine, either! Take credit when you deserve it, and also give credit to others for a job well done. Pay compliments at every opportunity, and when someone helps you, let them know how much you appreciate it. Be willing to accept constructive criticism or suggestions for improvement with a positive attitude. It’s usually nothing personal, and those with more experience can often help us do our jobs better and more efficiently.
- Dress appropriately for the work environment. If you have to question whether or not something is appropriate to wear to work, it is probably not appropriate. Your clothes don’t have to be expensive, but they should be clean, stain and wrinkle free and if possible, comfortable. Uncomfortable clothes or shoes make for a long day.
- Stay out of workplace drama. Don’t listen to gossip or become involved in arguments between coworkers. Mind you own business, do your job, and go home with a clear conscience.
- Don’t become obsessed with work, or allow your job to define you. Your work is not your life. If you enjoy your job, that’s great! But don’t let it consume you. Work when you are supposed to, then get home to your family, put work out of your mind and enjoy your time off. If you hate your job, remember, it’s only a job. Think of ways you can improve your situation, or at least your outlook for whatever time you are there. And remember…this too shall pass. There have been times when I badly wanted to quit, only to find that things got much better once I stuck it out! Finding a new job is not always the answer.
- Keep your work area organized and clutter free. This is another thing I struggle with. But I find that when I get organized and reduce the clutter, I feel less anxious and I am more productive. Being able to put your hands on what you need when you need it is essential.
- Plan ahead to meet deadlines. Don’t wait til the last minute to get things done. Be prepared in case something else comes up or you have to be out of work for some reason. Keep a calendar so that you don’t miss important dates and events. I like to use Calendars That Work a website where you can get free printable calendars.
- Remember that you are only responsible for your own actions. You cannot control the behavior of others, but you can decide how to respond and cope. There will always be people in the world that are hard to deal with. Sometimes you find these people in the workplace. Sometimes, they may even be your supervisor or boss. Don’t let them rain on your parade! Just do your job to the best of your ability, and own it when you make a mistake. It’s never a good idea to try and blame others when you messed up. We all make mistakes, and that’s understandable. It is not, however, okay to throw others under the bus when you are responsible for what went wrong. Treat your coworkers and your supervisor or boss with respect and dignity and conduct yourself in a manner that demands the same from them. Do your job in such a way as to give yourself a reputation for excellence, and then, if things do go wrong, those in charge will know that this is not the norm for you.
Even with the guidelines listed above, there are so many days that I couldn’t make it without guidance and direction from the Lord. He is there to listen when there is no one else I can talk to about whatever is going on. If you are unsure about what to do in a particular situation, ask Him for wisdom. Work is a part of life, and with so many unemployed, it is a blessing to have an income. That said, work doesn’t have to be drudgery. Just do your best and leave the details to Him!