09 Jun Thirteen practical ideas about working
Original Spanish version published in El Comercio (Peru) newspaper on June 9, 2015
- All jobs are temporary. They are never guaranteed. They can last months or years, but they only last for as long as both parties agree. They always change, and sometimes surprisingly. It’s vital always to be attentive to the market in anticipation of those inevitable changes, in order to find the next job quickly.
- Our jobs are not a right, we have to earn them again every day, onerous though that sounds. No one is obligated to keep us in a job if our services are no longer necessary or satisfactory.
- Even excellent performance or great loyalty cannot guarantee a secure job. People with spectacular résumés, good contacts, and high employability still sometimes find themselves out of work and have to go out and find a job quickly.
- Spending many years in the same position obliges us to concentrate more than ever on our performance and relevance. There is always someone who can and wants to do our job for less money and possibly with more enthusiasm.
- It’s a bad idea to stay in a job that doesn’t give us any satisfaction, because that will clearly have an impact on our attitude and performance, and ultimately on our reputation. Finding another position is never easy, but not trying to do it is “professional suicide.”
- A good attitude is key at work. A desire to learn, a good disposition – and hopefully passion – can even compensate for lack of experience. But there’s no replacement for exceeding expectations with respect to our performance and contribution. That makes us a strategic resource, although still never indispensable.
- Jobs are magnificent opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. But we are paid to add quantifiable and measurable value, to comply with indicators and generate results; clearly not just to show up for work.
- It’s important for us to think of ourselves as providers of professional services, responsible for their quality, efficacy, and competitiveness. When we are on someone’s payroll, we have a single customer for our services. That obliges us to focus tremendously on satisfying our only customer.
- The boss represents the organization that is contracting our services. He is our principal customer (whether we like him or not). His opinion of us will have a great impact on our career, even many years later. Peers, subordinates, customers, and suppliers are also our customers.
- Technology, curiosity, English, good writing skills and oral expression (making effective presentations), discretion, good manners, charisma, maturity in personal relationships, etc. are abilities that generate competitive value at work. Complacency and arrogance will damage a career; poor conduct and lack of ethics will destroy it.
- If we leave (or are dismissed from) a position, it is vital to do good work until the last minute. The references we get can be positively or negatively affected by the attitude with which we are seen to work during the final days.
- Developing our career as if it were our own best business works miracles for our employability. It’s an attitude that makes us stand out because we are focused on results, growth, and especially customer satisfaction.
- Life twists and turns. Taking care of our personal brand always pays well. There’s nothing like many satisfied customers to give good references regarding the quality of our work.