Friday, September 17, 2010

I am not a HORSE!

Look carefully at the picture below and answer honestly if you felt like this at least once when it comes to management expectations of your performance:
The ability to balance others' expectations of you with your personal objectives and your own notion of work/life balance might be the only key to success of winning this rat race called "career advancement".

My advice is not scientific at all, but it proved sensible over the years:

  • say "no". Nobody can make you do something, it is always your own choice. However, a bit of diplomacy and tact won't hurt. Try getting back to your boss with something like, "This is such a great opportunity! I definitely can get on board with this. Which of my current tasks and responsibilities do you want me to drop?" Trust me: you will be in a much better bargaining position after having said that and you'll feel great of not being the door mat once again.
  • remember that you are not a horse. I love horses, don't get me wrong, I truly believe they are the most beautiful animals with the saddest eyes you can imagine. I am using the concept of a work horse here, one that is tugging the plow and only praying for soon and imminent death. There are things in your life outside of the office, or are there?
  • be visible. Don't let your colleagues (and particularly your boss) doubt the fact that you are loaded 130%. Don't miss a chance to share some big project your are working right now, always carry a sophisticated-looking chart of a presentation and ensure that at social mixers you rub shoulders with big shots praising your boss's visionary leadership of guiding you on those high-profile endeavors. You will see that after that you will be encouraged to work on the projects you like and you will be able to sweep the less desirable part of your portfolio into someone else's backyard.
  • believe in your own worth. This has nothing to do with arrogance or blind overestimation of own capabilities. Know your market value, know what is reasonable and unreasonable to demand of you, and what is your real value-adding contribution to the organization you are working for. Walking into a negotiation from the position of power gives you the edge you need to get ahead.

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