It’s been almost seven years since I did a career reboot of sorts—packing my bags for a piece of the little big island that is New York. It’s been quite an adventure, a roller coaster ride. These days, it feels like I’m finally cruising along, although I’m not immune to not-so-great days at work. As I’ve re-tooled and rebooted NY Minute Now, I wanted to share snippets that I’ve learned, career-wise. I’ve listed five for now, although I have a feeling I’ll be adding to this list at some point. These aren’t hard-and-fast rules, but for sure, they’ve helped me survive, understand, and overcome challenging situations in the workplace.
1.) Speak your mind…but watch your mouth.
If there’s one tip you take away from here, it’s this one. This is still work-in-progress for me. I am constantly watching myself and the things I say. Since I’ve gotten in trouble in the past for times when I should have kept mum, it’s a constant struggle to find the balance between being vocal and filtering thoughts as they manifest in words.
But, there’s hope. The key is to be mindful of time, space, and opportunity. While this can be difficult—especially if you work in an industry where you’re required/expected to present your work and be able to explain your thought process verbally—it can be done.
TIME – Can it wait? Do you have to say it right this second? Is it better expressed via email, after you’d given it some thought?
SPACE – What is the environment? Who is present? Will what you’re about to say positively or negatively affect the air in the room?
OPPORTUNITY – What do you hope to gain from expressing this particular thing? Can it be finessed further in tone and approach? Is it respectful? And are you sure it’s necessary?
2.) Your boss is always right.
It’s the old cliché, but hear me out. It was only in recent years that I’ve had a better understanding of how this works. Your boss is always right because most of the time, your boss has the big picture/full scoop and this information is not necessarily trickled down the food chain for various reasons. The most obvious: Your boss just doesn’t have the time to walk you through the backstory of this one thing you need to do ASAP, because there are tons of other things that need to be done. Now, if you do find yourself in a situation that your boss is 100% wrong, refer to #1. Be respectful. And by all means, DO NOT do this in front of their boss…unless you’re performing surgery then you better TALK. NOW.
In my experience, I’d say 9 out of 10 managers want direct reports to be happy. Surely, some bosses can be very difficult to work with, some, you may wonder how they even got to their position. But, bottom line? They hired you, you’re getting paid to do the job, and you are free to leave (okay, that may not always be the case, but you get the drift).