Getting to the Top

There are many different books that (supposedly) tell you how to make your career successful and how to get to the top of the corporate ladder.  These books are all fine and dandy except that there are basically none made for geeks.  The book talks about how you don’t need a bunch of different steps for success, but you really only need one and that is to think about other people.  This is mainly done by helping people out because people always feel the need to return a favor when a favor is done for them.  This sometimes isn’t manifested in actual favors, but promotions or getting better jobs.  Many times people will bring their friends to different jobs with them, so for geeks, it can be really hard to make friends but helping people out is a great way to do that.  I have had many times that I have made several acquaintances where I have helped them out with something and they, in turn, have helped me out when I needed it.  Many times this person had expertise that I did not have and needed to complete a project or task.  There have been other times I just needed a small favor myself and people like that have helped me out many different times.  A big thing for a lot of people and companies and that if you have a problem and bring it to them bring a solution with you.  If you don’t bring a solution when you tell your boss or project leader you have a problem it seems like you are just complaining and are looking to them for a solution or for them to bail you out.  My dad talked about a co-worker at one point was like this and would always complain when something did not go right, but never gave a solution to the problem.  He added at the end of the story that the co-worker being discussed was not around the office for an extended period of time.  My dad also talked about several of his graduate assistants and what made them good or bad, and why he took a little more time than most people choosing them.  He told me that his best grad assistants would come and tell him something went wrong and ask if their solution was the best way to fix it, or they would try to fix it on their own by doing some research.  This relates back to the point about thinking about other people, because if you come to them without a solution and are just complaining you’re wasting their time and then they have to figure out how to fix the problem themselves.  One more thing you can do that can help you advance your career or just meet new people is to ask people if they need help, most of the time people already have what they are working on under control and do not need anything, but they will remember that you offered them help.

The different things I mentioned will not only help you to better your career, but will also help you to be a better person and even make connections aside from work.  I have had several instances where I did one or more of these things and people have not only helped me out but also became my friends along the way.  The most important take away from this chapter for me was to be willing to put yourself aside and help others out to advance both your career and yourself.


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