A long time ago -- or maybe it only feels that way -- our careers were at their beginning. Full of promise, ambition, and possibly misplaced self-confidence, we embarked on our journey up the corporate ladder. The luckiest among us received plenty of advice from the wiser and more experienced people in our lives, whether they were our parents, teachers, first bosses, or friends. If we were really fortunate, we were even able to hear it.
When you feel confident, the people you interact with in your career are more likely to reward you with the things you want, whether it's a job or a promotion or a raise or a parking space closer to the front door. This is potentially pretty unfair, of course, since anyone who's worked with other humans for more than a day knows that confidence isn't always an indicator of competence. So what can you do, if you're deserving, but underappreciated -- and not burdened with an excess of self-regard? Game the system, and fake it until you make it.
Finally, the new year is here, which means it's time to pull out all of the inspirational hoopla to get those career go-getter juices flowing again. (But this year it will be different! Right? Right?!) We've compiled a list of ways to help kick-start the momentum you need to make 2015 a career success.
Depending on how 2014 treated you, the dawn of a new year is either a welcome chance to start over or an opportunity to continue building on what you're already creating. Either way, it's a good time to engage in a little self-reflection, so that next year brings you more of what you want in your career and your life, and less of what drove you crazy during the past 12 months.
Even if you don't observe any of the December holidays, personally, there's almost no way you've made it this far into the month unscathed by the gift-giving madness. Now that all of the bustling and spending has come to end, it's time to turn your attention inward, and ask yourself what you need and want in the next year, in order to get the career you deserve. Good news for your bank account: many of these "gifts" are free.
What is it about holiday parties that makes people think they should reenact their college keggers? Perhaps it's dealing with a number of different stressors all at once, from pre-travel work deadlines to holiday shopping to coordinating with teammates who are increasingly checked out. Then, of course, there's the bad-decision potentiating power of alcohol. If there's one thing the following stories have taught us, it's that everyone would be better off starting their January cleanse a few weeks early. Certainly, their careers would thank them.
The holidays are a challenging time to be a working person. Half the people you need to talk to seem to be on vacation, or at least mentally checked out, your office is filling up with sugary treats you don't want, but can't stop eating, and the nonstop social whirl seems to bring out the worst in your co-workers. Fortunately, some of PayScale's favorite bloggers and writers have tips on staying healthy and sane during the season -- while maintaining your sense of humor, to boot.
If your co-worker does not let you in on relevant information that she "meant to" share with you, takes credit for your work, does not give you the complete picture of projects, keeps all her cards close to her chest, spends a lot of time in the manager’s office, and bags projects you didn't even know about, you may be dealing with a highly competitive colleague.
Have your social media feeds been filling up with thankfulness over the past few days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving? If these public statements of gratitude make you roll your eyes rather than count your blessings, never fear: we're not here to convince you to join a movement, or even start a journal or buy an app. However, focusing on the positive and remembering the ways in which you're lucky can be good for your career, if you go about things in a way that works for you.
Having trouble getting out of your own way at work since the days got shorter and colder? The bad news is that spring is a long way off. The good news is that at least you're not alone. Lots of people find it harder to be productive and happy, both at work and at home, during the winter.
One of the best, tried-and-true ways to excel at what you do is explain it to someone else. Oftentimes, we go through our jobs -- which can include detailed systems and processes -- without realizing what we are actually doing. If you are years or decades deep into your career, much of your expertise may be "all in your head" -- and you may not even realize there’s a better way to do something, opening up the opportunity to excel more and even advance higher up the ladder.
Did you drag yourself into the office today? Maybe it's just the normal Monday morning gear-shift -- or maybe it's a sign of a bigger problem. If it's getting harder and harder to go to work, and you're getting less done while you're there, it's time to consider whether you're dealing with job burnout, and not just normal day-to-day stress.
What do you do at work on Friday afternoons? Mobile devices and online access to the tools we use to do our jobs have made it harder to hide out under our desks and wait for the factory whistle to blow. Still, after a long, hard week, it's easy to let burnout overwhelm you. Don't just coast through the last minutes and hours of your workweek. Use your time wisely, and you'll have a more pleasant weekend, and start next week off fresh and ready to work.
Given their druthers, many would prefer to work with a moderately cheerful colleague, instead of someone who tends to see the dark side of a situation, but maybe they should reconsider. Studies suggest that our gloomier colleagues might have a valuable perspective to offer -- one that relentlessly positive types might not be able to duplicate.
As long as workers can attribute their wins to luck, they don't have to feel bad about their losses. Of course, the downside to that is that they also don't get to take credit for their success. If you want to motivate your team to take responsibility, learn from their mistakes, and excel in their work, you might consider applying attribution theory.