So last night I was watching 30 Rock (surprise surprise), and it was the episode where Jack is trying to work his way back to the top. In it, he tells a crew of lower placed employees to “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is a GREAT little maxim, that goes beyond clothing. In truth, it should be taken as “Work the job you want.”
If you are a clock puncher, you will never succeed. No one will promote someone who doesn’t show drive and ambition, and quite likely, you are merely a placeholder until you can be replaced by someone who does. Certainly I wouldn’t want someone working for me that is incapable of performing above my expectations, much less one who doesn’t even meet them. And if you don’t really care, than you should just get the hell out of the way for someone who does.
Work Is FUNdamental
This doesn’t mean you need to be working all the time. It just means that when shit needs to be done, you get it done. Right the fuck now. Ideally, you should be so on top of it, that you’re actively seeking more things to do. While that can be an unreasonable request at a full time 60+ hour a week job, if you are part time and not asking for more work, something is wrong with your work philosophy. At my company, we would never tell some one “No, there’s no more work for you.” There’s ALWAYS something you can do.
And no, it may not be fun. It may be boring as hell. But your willingness to do it shows that you are committed and want to be an important member of the team. And when you demonstrate team work and willingness to do whatever needs to be done, that’s how you get a promotion and raises. Not from doing the bare minimum of work just to collect a paycheck.
Key Concepts to Keep in Mind
- Always be available. Carry your phone AT ALL TIMES! I can’t stress this enough. If you’re unavailable, you’re unreliable. You will be replaced by someone who is. I don’t have time to call multiple people looking for someone to do things I need done. Once I find someone who is always available, that’s who I’m turning to for future work, and that’s who’s going to get ahead in the company. If you want to make money, you carry the fucking phone. My boss knows he can call me at ANY time, and I will answer the phone. Even if I can’t actually do anything for him at that moment, I answer the phone and give him an ETA of when I’ll complete the job.
- Dress for success. I’m not using someone who dresses poorly. I dress well, and so do my employees. If you don’t, I’ve no use for you. I need someone who will represent my company well at all times.
- You ALWAYS represent the company. On your Facebook, your Twitter, everywhere: you are the face of the company. If you bring shame on yourself, you bring it on me. I’m not having that.
- When you have an assignment, always go above and beyond. Don’t settle for second best. I’m not.
- Communication is critical. Never leave the boss wondering. When you get a message from him or her, you confirm it. When you finish a project, you announce it. He shouldn’t have to come to you. You go to him.
- Results are key. I don’t care how shit gets done, as long as it’s done within an acceptable time frame and no laws were broken.
While all of this seems obvious to me, it seems some people just don’t get it. The company must be one of the most important things in your life. Without a good job, everything else suffers either directly or indirectly. In Japan, people work for the same company for LIFE. That’s why there industry is on par with ours. Because they are committed.
The way you work should be a one way road to success. There is no room for failure or mediocrity. While there are no problems, only solutions, sometimes it becomes the final solution and you will no longer be a problem for your boss. And no one likes that. So suck it up, do your job, and only great things can come of it. Your boss will thank you for it.
And if this just isn’t your style, that’s fine. The world will always need janitors.