Useful is as Useful Does
By just about any measure, you’re doing well—happy in your work, your colleagues, your compensation. But you’re ready for a new challenge. After years in the same position, it’s getting harder to find motivation and interest on a daily basis. You don’t want out—you want UP. But how to get there?
You’ve tried hinting. You’ve tried flattery. You’ve even tried waving your hand in the air every time one of the bosses asks for a volunteer, and still you’re marking time in the same position.
The key is to start creating and seizing your OWN opportunities.
Here’s some very good news: Most of us are surrounded by people with an ENORMOUS amount on their plates. They have what you want (things to do) and you have what they want (someone ready and willing to do them). It’s time to make beautiful music together.
You’ll certainly want to keep waving that hand in the air. Eventually your willingness will pop to mind at the same moment they desperately need to get something done. But you can be even more proactive. Find out what projects the management team is working on right now. Do a little independent legwork—a little research that needs doing, maybe, or a proposal draft—then go back and say, “I’ve taken the liberty of drafting this work so that you wouldn’t have to do that. Let me know what changes you’d like to see made. I’d just like to take some of these things off your shoulders.”
Until you’ve been up to your eyeballs in too much to do, only to have someone waltz in the door with one of your projects half done—believe me, it makes one heck of an impression.
Do this often enough and it will be apparent that you are someone of great integrity with a heart of service. Before long, your name will start ringing in their ears, and your future will open up before you.
If you approach this with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head—a snazzy title, a corner office, a big raise—you will fail. These motivations are as transparent as the wind. Instead, bask in the glory of being of greater service in the work that you do, and you just might get your sugarplums in the end.
The dos and don’ts of making yourself useful
- DO watch for opportunities to be of service.
- DON’T snoop into private communications in search of opportunities.
- DO offer to solve workload problems.
- DON’T create new problems by taking on work for which you are not qualified or for which you don’t have time.
- DO keep your eye on the goal of being of service.
- DON’T think in terms of direct benefits to you.
Never take on additional work unless you can do it on time and well. Adding to the problem won’t win you any points!