Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lessons learned while Working

I enjoyed reading this today hope you do too.
by Mary Schmich

I've been working since I was 16. I've been a waitress and a writer, a college admissions officer and a movie-theater candy-counter clerk. In honor of Labor Day, here are some things that working has taught me about work.

1. Work is hard. That's why it's called work.

2. Calm down. The work that must get done will get done. Or you're fired.

3. Deadlines are the enemy of perfection. They're also your best friend.

4. Your boss has a boss too. That explains half the crazy things she -- or he -- does.

5. Listen to the assignment. You may think it's stupid. But be sure you understand what you're being told to do before you do the thing you think is smarter.

6. As one of my first bosses told me: Be loyal to individuals, but never be loyal to an institution because it will not be loyal to you.

7. Some bosses are very wise.

8. Your job is harder than other people think, but not as hard as self-pity tells you.

9. Looking busy and working effectively aren't the same. But only the fortunate few get credit for making work look effortless.

10. Your boss doesn't understand what you do. Let her -- or him -- know occasionally.

11. It's easier to second-guess the boss than to be the boss.

12. As a business-school professor once told me: Power doesn't corrupt; power reveals. That knowledge won't change your workplace, but it might change your perceptions.

13. Keep your psychodrama to yourself and not only because your work chums could wind up as your superiors or subordinates.

14. Sad but true: Work is a bond, but the workplace can be as ferocious as "Survivor." You can rarely be sure your work friend is your true friend until you're off the island.

15. The above is especially true of workers at different levels of power.

16. Flattery won't get you far. If it does, it's called sucking up.

17. Respect. You can't expect it if you won't give it. This applies to the ranks above and below you.

18. Don't quit when you're mad. Or drunk.

19. Alcohol never helps get the job done. Never.

20. Sad but true: Team players don't always come in first.

21. Neither do sick people who won't take sick days. Stay home.

22. Find work you love. If you can't, find things to love about your work. If that fails, remind yourself that there's always, always someone with a worse job.

23. Work pays for the fun.

24. Everyone feels underappreciated.

25. At least once in your working life, you will hear at least two of these phrases: "Don't take it personally." "We've decided to move in a different direction." "I wish I could offer you more, but ..."

26. The boss is not thinking about you as much as you're thinking about the boss. But she -- or he -- wants your approval too.

27. Bosses are like the weather and the pop charts -- they change. You're likely to outlast more than one.

28. Yes, you are lucky to have a job. But that's not license for your employer to exploit you.

29. Power trumps talent. And effort. And experience. All the way up the ranks.

30. Work gives life purpose. But it's not the only purpose. It's a piece of your identity. But it is not you.

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