When thinking of ways to better oneself in the workplace, people often think of just sharpening their skills. This is done in hopes that when the next job promotion opens up, or when needed a good job recommendation, your boss will notice your ability and help you achieve one or the other. Although this approach seems like the best thing to do and the most logical, it isn’t really the case in how things work. Today, especially with people working in IT, it is important that you are good at your job, but it is also as important for you to be regarded as someone who is good to work with.
A prime example of what I can think of when reading this chapter was when I worked for Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. I worked there for 2 years, starting in 2014 until I left for college in 2015, then again last summer in 2016 when I came home from school. When I first started working at Dickey’s I kept my head down, focused on my tasks, tried getting better and tried not to get involved with the work drama. Although my work was progressing I still was not near the level of some of my coworkers, yet. There was one worker, let’s just call him Tim, who had more experience than me and was faster than me, at the time. Around my 2nd month working there, when my boss posted the work schedule, I noticed that I had more shifts than Tim. Tim’s hours were cut and given to me. This wasn’t because I was better than Tim, but rather because the manager didn’t like working with Tim. He told the boss to cut his hours because he wasn’t being a good “teammate”. Tim wasn’t helping others when he was done with his primary responsibilities, and he got mad at others for not listening to him when his instructions weren’t clear. The worst of all he would do is that he would bad mouth his coworkers and put up a facade in front of the boss to make him look like the perfect employee. Although his skills were high, he was not someone you wanted to work with, which resulted in his termination. Tim had a hard time finding a job after that because he couldn’t get any references since he spent a lot of time working at Dickey’s. From this lesson, I learned that my skills alone will not get me far, but my adaptability and my ability to work well with others is what is going to get me ahead.
In today’s world, unless you are world known for your work, or just simply the best at your job, you are probably not going to get headhunted by companies.
There are a lot of people out there with great skills who can probably do what you can do, but there aren’t many people who are highly skilled and think about others. In the work world, the word of your former coworker could be the little nudge you need to get you that new job or even a job promotion. So next time someone helps you out, or if you see someone struggling, be sure to return the favor in the future, or step in and help.
Although you may seem comfortable in your job by just focusing on yourself, and improving your skills, letting the rest fend for themselves, this will only hurt you. When working for any company, it is important to strive to be a prime employee. If you’re still confused on what a prime employee looks like, I’ll try to sum it up best in a couple of sentences. The prime employee should be good at their job, but also be able to elevate their coworkers, and can follow through on their promises. The prime employee must be helpful, be able to acknowledge their mistakes, and must be willing to provide suggestions on improvement. Following these guidelines will help you stay at the top of the minds of your bosses and coworkers when it comes time for them to answer who they think would be good for a job or promotion.