Work Related Mantras…

Dress for the job you want.

I’ve never believed in this phrase.  I feel that the output of your work should always be more important than how you look in the process of completing the task.  My output is the same whether I am wearing a swimsuit or a business suit.  The difference is in the perception of the person evaluating my work.  At the end of the day, the quality of the work is the same; however, a different value may be placed on it because I chose to wear sandals instead of closed toe shoes.  As ridiculous as this may be, it is the truth and an unfortunate reality.  People are constantly judged about their potential outcome based on their appearance.  Dressing a certain way, conforming to a particular standard, may alleviate this.  It is a shame.

Work smarter not harder.

Sometimes you just can’t.  I try to make everything I do as efficient as possible (work smarter).  There are certain times that you just need to grind it out to accomplish a task, regardless of how efficient you try to be.  There are menial things we are asked to do in our jobs.  These things typically suck, and suck the life out of you.  DO them.  I tell the students I supervise and advise that I would never ask them to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself.  This means sometimes I am stuck doing filing, organizing, and other tasks that are mind numbing.  They require you to work harder to push through the mundane nature of the job at hand.

Work hard, play hard(er).

I am too old for this one.  I had my time in the sun with work hard, play hard.  I often played harder.  It was time to put this to rest as an option.  I realized that playing hard became an excuse to try and create work life balance and this play hard mentality often involved alcohol as the release from the stresses of working hard.  Now I just work hard, and funnel my “play” aspect into other activities that are much cheaper and healthier.

I prescribe to a different mantra.

Work harder than the person whose job you want to have.

Perhaps this is a stupid notion.  To be honest, there are very few times in my life that I have actually received any additional benefit from doing this.  Sure I may get recognized here and there for going above and beyond, but 99% of the time it is never converted to a promotion or monetary compensation.  I don’t do it because I am trying to show someone up.  I do it to prove that I am capable of doing the job that the person holds.  As frustrating as it can be to work your ass off, create new initiatives, and feel that no one is paying attention or cares, someone does notice.  It just may not always be the person you want who sees it.  People will recognize the effort and the output.  It is a matter of being comfortable that it may take some time.

Rewards come in different shapes and forms.  Granted financial incentives are always welcomed.  This isn’t always an option.  It can be through a conversation with a student.  A thank you note from another office.  A formal letter recognizing your work with an external entity.  Over time, these things do add up.  It makes the time and effort worth it. Putting in those extra hours and the additional energy all of a sudden was a worthwhile endeavor.

People are watching and noticing.  Soon the right people will be made aware too.  At that point, you have demonstrated that you are capable to do the work at that next level.  Sometimes it just takes patience on our part and the willingness to advocate for ourselves as the impetus.

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About Justin Sipes

Learner Input Strategic Achiever Analytical
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