It’s your very first day at work. Fresh out of college, stars in your eyes and a desire to quickly climb to the top of the corporate ladder. You look around and you see a number of other hopefuls around you – just like you they are also looking to make their mark in the big bad corporate world. In this competitive world, the challenge is not only to excel but also to outshine the others.
Whether you are engineering graduate or an MBA pass-out, whether you are from a Communications background or a plain graduate, there are some tips that will help you to be a cut above the rest and outshine others in the same batch.
No short cut to success. You can however put your ride quickly into top gear
There is a famous quote by Christopher Mcdougall, An American author, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed”. A smart gazelle on the other hand knows that it only has to run faster than the other gazelles to avoid getting killed at the hands of a lion. Get the drift.
Your company has spent X amount in hiring you. Make sure that the value you deliver is more than what your company is spending on you. And how will you do that?
Observe the Culture: You can learn a lot about the organization by just observing the way you coworkers and seniors function. Does the company have flexi-timings? What time are you expected to come in? What is the procedure if you want to take leave or come in late? At what time do people generally leave? The sooner you blend in and become part of the organization the better. You will stick out like a sore thumb if the organization has an informal culture and you insist on addressing your seniors as Sir or M’aam.
One such company where I worked this culture flowed from top down. If anyone would address the CEO as Sir, he would encourage them to call him by his first name. He would tell people – “Just as you like your name, I too like my name and would prefer you to call me by my given name”. So everybody called each other by their first names. You need to fall in line with the company culture. Follow the general convention. In another company I know, it is a norm to address the senior employees by adding a “Ji” (a sign of respect in India) after their name. Even the senior people address each other like that. So a new joinee who missed this nuance of communication, got branded as rude and insouciant because she failed to add the suffix “Ji” after a senior’s name in an email.
Take notes: I don’t understand the hesitation I sometimes in young joinees to take notes. Carry your note-pad everywhere. No not literally…but whenever you go for an official meeting, carry it along and jot down the important points. It helps you cover all the bases and however much time later you come back to it, like a faithful and loyal servant it will remind you of all the takeaways from a particular meeting. Also once major points are written down, you don’t have to memorise and your brain is free to process other pieces of the office puzzle.
Network: As a journalism student at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, I was taught the basics of writing a good story. Presenting information, the importance of being accurate, relying on facts and attributing or quoting when giving opinion. No doubt it was all very helpful. But one key thing which I learned much later in life is to “Network”. From day one on the job, learn to build your network. Don’t limit yourself to connecting with only your seniors. I cannot emphasize the importance of this often overlooked art of networking. A number of jobs especially as you move up the ladder are never advertised but often filled through the network which is basically referrals or connections.