Work Ethics

Posted: 2010/05/07 in Blog

The longer I have been a member of the working class, the more I become aware of what people believe to be their role in the work place.  I was fortunate enough to be raised with a very strong work ethic.  My parents ground into me the fact that good work ethics are mandatory in the work place. 

I won’t lie and state that I have always had the best of work ethics; like most teens, I thought my parents were full of it.  So from when I entered the work force at 14 years old until my early 20s, I would say that i had mediocre work ethics.  During this time i was able to keep steady work, but was never able to last anywhere for any length of time and was not able to advance in the work place.  I drifted place to place in no skill, no education positions, as I had not graduated high school and had yet to go out and earn my GED.

Somewhere in my early 20s, I recognized that this was a pretty sour existence.  I had no career and nothing to my name.  Rather than entering the defeatist thought of waiting for someone to do something for me, i chose to start taking action on my own behalf.  First, I signed up for, took, and passed the GED test; this gave me a base line education on paper.  During this time, I stopped acting like an employee; I took responsibility to do the level of work that I believed would be expected of the next position up and I began following the dress code of the next position up.  These simple actions gave me my foot in the door, and that’s all i needed.

With my newfound work ethic and drive, I entered into entry-level leadership roles.  Becoming team and shift leads, at first.  Now that I had attained the next step, I looked another step forward and asked myself, “what is expected of the next person up?”  Once I identified that, i again began to dress and behave like the next person above me.  After a while, my work paid off and I earned my first supervisory position.  

I still had not maintained a position for any extended period of time and had no formal education, so I began to set tangible goals.  These four goals are not short-term goals that are to be met and then forgotten, these are four things that every career minded individual must constantly strive to meet.

First, continuous development.  No matter how much you think you know, you know nothing.  There is a world of knowledge out there.  Continuosly seek out new knowledge and skill sets.  Every piece of knowledge and every skill gives you an edge over the next person.  Caution though, you can end up like me who can build and repair computers, but i have nothing to proove it.  Shoot for getting about a quarter of your skills documented.  Simple things to do would be to look at your employer and see if they offer any employee developmebnt courses.  Recent employers of mine had a plethera of courses that i could take that went on my file, but they did not inform me about them, I had to look for them.  Also, google your various skill sets and see if there are certififications available.  Many times you have to take courses, but there are many skills certifications that you can test out of and recieve documentation of said skill.

Second, be an asset.  Become a person in your work place that produces something tangible for the company.  Meet goals, do work, and look at what you can do to make the company more money.  In general, what is good for the company is good for the worker.  I know which of my employees produce results and make the company money, and i know which employees make no attempt to justify what is paid to them.  I’m sure my boss knows the same of me and my peers.  The more you produce, the more you will be rewarded.

Third, be there.  It’s really one of the simplest of concepts, go to work every day, on time.  I once had to fire a young lady for being late and she was floored that she was being fired for being ten minutes late; I explained to her that after three tardees in no more than three months, I bumped her schedule back half an hour to accomodate, and she continued to be late.  I’ve seen people that give away all of their hours and take every opportunity not to be at work become suprised that they were released.  I was hired to fill a gap or hole, I need to be sure that i keep that gap or hole filled at all times.  For the last eight years, I have only taken about one or two sick days a year.

Fourth, don’t whine.  No one came to my door, begged me to work for them, asked my terms, and agreed to them.  “I applied for this job, terms were given, and I accepted them.”  This is what I remind myself whenever frustrated.  Whining about your job accomplishes absolutly nothing.  Don’t get me wrong, you may vent on occassion, away fro mthe working areas, but don’t let it get the best of you.  The more you whine and complain, the less happy you will become.  Suck it up and do the job, after a while, management notices those that follow this principle.

I am sure tht many people could list many more cores to being a good worker, but this is the list that has helped me succeed.  I encourage everyone to seek out new opportunities.  Look to the sky and change your stars!

  1. Suzanne Qi says:

    I’ve learned too that attitude and well, basically just sucking it up, will go a long way.

    By attitude I mean that with clients and with my boss, I strive to be bright, friendly, and accomodating. “Sure I can do that” or “No problem” and then I ‘make it work’. In my emails, I wish them a good weekend, take time to build rapport, and always thank them when they email me some document or information I had requested. In my early days (still basically ‘a kid’), I would complain or moan frequently; I detested person to person office contact. When I started practicing a bit of friendliness and connecting more on a personal level, I found myself being more productive, being entrusted with greater responsibility, and actually enjoying my job more. This personal connection also increased my motivation to perform services with greater efficiency and effective client contact.

    ‘Sucking it up’ has been a longer road, but I’m getting there. ‘Sucking it up’ means not procrastinating. It means sucking it up and just tackling that that one huge ugly project you’re avoiding. The trick is to somehow make yourself understand (and believe) that the stress of dreading the undone (and rapidly maturing) task is greater than the headache of actually taking care of it. The quickly-ripping-off-the-bandaid approach. It’s funny – it’s one of those things you know you should do, you’ll feel pleased and liberated once it’s done, and you never regret taking the initiative to get it done with, but neverthelesse, somehow it’s always a battle to make yourself take that first step. Over the past couple months, I’ve been taking that first step over and over, forcing myself the whole way, and now, on the other side of the mountain – the view is great. I highly recommend it.

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