Everybody talks about starting their own business nowadays. Now don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with being your own boss, but that doesn’t make it the only road out there. And it certainly doesn’t make it the road most travelled, or – with 90% of start-ups failing – the most secure. So for those who don’t necessarily feel we have to cut our own path, here are 10 tips to make you a more valuable employee.
- Employability – first and foremost, you need to make certain you have a skill set that companies need. That means studying something other than history, psychology and sociology. Instead, realize that there are certain educations that are in high demand and make certain that you pursue those.
- Keep learning – The only moment it’s too late to start learning something new is when you’re exhaling that last breath. So keep taking classes and courses and getting degrees! For not only do you learn new skills, but you maintain the plasticity of your mind and your flexibility of thought.
- Be honest – Don’t be a yes person. Yes people fade into the background. Though it might not be instantaneous, it is people with an opinion that get noticed, hired and ultimately promoted.
- Be proactive – Intelligent people can get themselves out of problems that wise people would never have let themselves get into. The longer you wait with tackling the problem, the bigger it becomes. Tackle it early and you’ll be known as that person who is always in control. And who doesn’t want to be that person?
- Don’t whine – nobody likes a whiner. Everybody likes a problem solver. Your first instinct when confronted with a problem should never be, “why me?” It should be, “how can we solve this.” If you tackle problems immediately, often you’ll find there are opportunities hidden underneath.
- Don’t lecture. Lead by example – Few people like to be told what to do, but nobody can complain when somebody shows them the way. If you’ve got the right attitude and the right approach other people will notice. And if you don’t gloat they won’t resent you for it.
- The first hour, the valuable hour – You know that first hour of the day, when most people are groggily reading the newspaper and checking their friend’s status updates? It is actually one of the most productive hours of the day. Don’t waste it! To make the best use of it, get up a bit earlier and get some morning sun! That way, when you get in you’ll be working when everybody else is still groaning.
- Build a network – The adage ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, might not be entirely true, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely false either. Who you know can make a huge difference, so make certain to befriend people and exchange favors. That network will be immensely valuable in the years to come.
- Don’t gossip – Not only is it a waste of time both for you and the person you’re talking to, but it poisons the work atmosphere, reduces productivity, and can come back to haunt you.
- Character – and lastly but certainly not least, in organizations it is important that you know right from wrong and have the wherewithal to follow your moral compass. For in big companies it is easy to free ride and let others do the work, to not even talk about behaviors that are ethically questionable. It takes a strong person to overcome such urges, but it is only employees with straight backs and strong shoulders who can keep their company out of the gutter. And what is more valuable than that?
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