Jumpstart your journey from dark entry-level cubicle to sunny corner office starting on day one at your new job.
You managed to land a coveted entry-level job at a Fortune 100 company. Congratulations! You’re now just another guppy floundering in an ocean teeming with sharks.
It’s the first day on the job and you’re full of excitement in anticipation of the wondrous future that awaits you. As you make your way to the battleship grey cubicle that will soon become your second home, you pass at least a hundred other associates. Suddenly feeling insignificant you worry, “With this much competition, it will take years to reach and start making some decent money.”
Ah young Jedi, you must learn patience and allow those that came before you to shine first.
No, no. That is absolutely not true!
Use some (or for faster results… ALL) of the following suggestions and you can make manager, or at least first-level supervisor, in a year! Two at most.
1. Look for inefficiencies
Develop roving eyes. Not for the office hottie. Look for odd tasks (in addition to your job description duties) others are doing. Figure out how to do it better. Then ask to take over and introduce your own efficiencies.
I once saw a guy spend three hours a day, every day, at the copier. He was making copies of credit card transactions, one slip at a time. I asked why he didn’t copy a few dozen at once to save paper, toner and time. He basically said, “I dunno.” Anybody else would have walked away thinking, “Whatever.” But I saw an opportunity and pounced.
Without sounding accusatory, I mentioned to the supervisor that we could save a good two and half hours a day (and a few trees) doing it differently. I offered to take over. Boom! Just like that, I made it known I could discover and introduce money-saving efficiencies. It was a simple, but noticeable change.
2. Push and shove
Not literally of course. You don’t want to be known as the .
Learn to be assertive without being aggressive as you to the front of the pack. Listen and watch for opportunities to volunteer your services and talents. Supervisors are often given projects they in turn pawn off — I mean delegate — to their underlings (newbies like you.)
This is when you want to raise your hand high and yell, “Ooh, ooh I’ll do it!” Yes, you will look like a butt kisser, but it works.
As you work on the project you so eagerly volunteered for, don’t just turn in the minimum required amount of work. ( to tweet these words of wisdom.) Give the report or activity extra effort. Go above and beyond.
As an example, when I was working at a mega telecommunications company, one of my supervisors volunteered to chair the annual Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony. Knowing this would be a company-wide celebration and a perfect opportunity to get noticed, I offered my services.
While the other helpers were working on decorations and food (snooze), I tracked down several employees to interview during a stage presentation. They gave their personal experiences and memories of the day Dr. King was assassinated. It was a moving and memorable gathering.
That project single handedly propelled me to the top of the heap of rookies. The President and Vice Presidents of the company were in attendance. Not only did my department supervisors, managers and Executive Director learn my name, but all the top dogs suddenly knew me.
About a month or two after that shining moment, an opened up for advancement working directly under a prominent VP. The VP remembered my name from the MLK presentation and asked to interview me himself!
I got the job, plus a rare three-grade level advancement with a whopping pay increase!
4. Aim high
Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. It’s unlikely huge promotions will land in your lap without some major effort. While others shy away from extra duties or run for hills when they see a complicated sounding job posting, you strike with high hopes and confidence leaving the guppies in your wake.
No Einstein moves needed
Don’t feel you need to come up with earth shattering, genius moves to catapult yourself to the top. Simple, but noticeable actions will take you from floating with the guppies to swimming with the sharks.
Sylvia Talo, aka , is a freelance who uses her years in the corporate world and experience as a business owner to help aspiring careerists and business owners succeed.