Make Your Job Work for You!

Source: Hawke’s Bay Today, Saturday June 6 2009

Make the most of your time at work – it may lead to career opportunities in the future, says Erin Boyle.

We all have to work, and while a select few have amazing jobs that they live for, many of us would prefer three day weekends and dream of winning Lotto so we we can give up our daily graft.

But work is a place we spend at least eight hours a day, so why not just make the most of the time you have there!

Nobody likes to be called the "teachers pet", but being an asset to your workplace is  important  for future career development as well as advancement.

Be active, participate.

Employees who are more active around the workplace and participate in company activities (whether social or business orientated) are more likely to be noticed by managers and decision-makers. It’s not about attention seeking behaviour, but positive involvement with your team.  Rohan Bowyer, Director of Hawke’s Bay’s RIOT Recruitment, says getting involved shows you are part of the organisation.

“Being active shows leadership qualities and ideally that’s what companies want to see.  It is part of succession planning, knowing someone can grow with the business.”


Every company has its faults and things that could be done better. But instead of moaning to your colleagues, or taking a list of complaints to your manager, put your thinking cap on. Put a positive spin on it by being constructive with your criticism (no direct blame) and do the leg work by coming up with ways those problems could be solved. Then ask to meet with your manager – they will most likely appreciate not having to come up with their own solution.

Bored at work?

Feel like you aren’t being challenged enough or finishing all you work by morning tea time? Give yourself a great career boost by approaching your manager, or other senior people in your team to source more tasks. There will be someone swamped with work that will appreciate your helpfulness, and that’s always a great feeling, too. Bowyer sees helping others as a very important part of progressing through the company. “First it’s about doing your own job well, then looking to help others. If you can see someone struggling, by all means, pitch in. You will earn respect and others will see you as an emerging leader”.

All creatures big and small?

This probably describes the people in most companies, and just like you can’t choose your family, neither do you have any control over the team you work with.  Most people are bearable, some are great and some are really irritating. Basically it is in your best interests to be civil and friendly to all (Plus you never know when you may need someone’s help, and if you have always been nice to them, they will be more than obliging!).

Bowyer says you don’t have to be best friends with people but be professional and ensure you get alongside your colleagues. “It means an employee is looking to work towards the common goal or what the business is about. If you are going to progress in the company, you need to be well respected.”

It’s the simple things that make a great employee, so think about ensuring you are always on time and prepared to do the “extra yards” when you need to. Bowyer says it’s also about a willingness to contribute by coming up with new ideas and having a passion for what the business does, buying into the business and what it’s trying to achieve.

Being a good employee isn’t about being a ‘goody two-shoes’ but more about making the most of your work day, not being overlooked for a pay rise or promotion, getting a fantastic reference when you decide to change jobs, and about being a great team player that people like being around. Plus it will probably make those eight hours a lot more enjoyable!


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