An Employees Perspective – by T.J. Worley and Doris Scribner
“So, you’re a professional employee?” accompanied by a few chuckles and knee smacks is often what I hear after speaking with most business owners about my “career”. Often these conversations are relaxed, but many times end with an odd tension built through misunderstanding and mixed emotions, leaving me as the employee discouraged. Its always the same conundrum, “owning a business offers more benefits and freedom” vs. “being a wage slave accruing no risk.” The real difference…The one question you should be asking…”Am I meeting my goals?“
Finding and retaining valuable employees is difficult for most business owners, but the Professional Employee isn’t found without his own hurdles. I’m writing this simple blog to help both sides of the aisle understand why hiring/being a Professional Employees is indispensable.
For the employee, it’s natural to wonder,
“What is a Professional Employee, and how do I set myself up for success?”
Every action you take in your professional life should be inline with your goals. If you do not have any goals set, make them now. You have enough time to read this blog post, so I know you have enough time to set a goal, even if its just one. Here are some ways to make yourself more valuable and have the “stand out” factor:
- Be punctual with phenomenal attendance. Remember, if you are consistently present, there is no option for you to be ignored. This will give you the edge when others around you have average attendance. So show up early, and stay late, do whatever is reasonable under your current compensation system, and be PRESENT!
- Communicate when there are issues. There is not an industry in the world where this is not a key factor! Use specific and intentional lines of questioning when relaying problems so that you may learn meekly, and teach confidently, in a single motion. This will allow for tremendous increases to morale and a overall positive work environment.
- Manage yourself. Having a high level of situational awareness should prove to be a valuable asset. With humility, assess and review your own work and how it may increase, or decrease the workload of your employers/co-workers. This can also be an advantageous way to manually track the fiscal benefits you provide. (Track and document what you are bringing to the table)
- Take notes (preferably on paper) and find a way to organize them so you can find the information quickly. This will not only help with your personal growth and knowledge of the industry, but will provide you with management and teaching tools as you progress and rise.
- Create and maintain hard deadlines for all tasks and projects, no matter how small, mundane, or tedious. Again, by implementing a review process for yourself you will have greater focus and less blunders. You will become the “go to guy/gal” by setting the procedural stands high.
- Take ownership of projects including the preparation, delegation, and failures of your actions for yourself those beneath you. Become a leader, protect your integrity and that of those around you. There is no need to be a jerk, simply take ownership with pride. All aspects of success and unfortunately shortcomings, offer uncanny amounts of knowledge to utilize.
A note on goal setting: Set real goals, that matter to you. The worst thing you can do is use an internet search to find a one hundred bullet point master hack cheat list on “how to become a millionaire” or “best way to be successful.” NO ONE else can help you get to where you’re going. Set your goals yourself, you know what you need to do. Again, you become the leader by making decisions, not by sitting in a waiting room. Here is a simple guide and a good place to start if you need a boost with your goal setting: https://jamesclear.com/goal-setting
Last but not least, we have a few more ways for the Professional Employee to set a deep foundation:
Be proactive – Take initiative – Make yourself indispensable
1. Ask questions:
a. “What is the one thing I could do (or learn) that would make me more valuable/make your life easier/get me to the next level.”
b. “I noticed [x]. Is that something I can help you with?”
c. Examples: I noticed that ladder on the sidewalk/box has been sitting in the entryway for a week. Would you like me to put it somewhere, or are you wanting to keep it there for a reason?
d. Is there an extra duty that I could pick up on a regular basis that would be helpful for you? Sometimes picking up these extra tasks will not result in more compensation, so make sure they align with any goals you have set.
2. Noticing your surroundings:
a. Emulate the position you want to be in and regularly offer assistance.
b. What are others doing after the job is done? (Are they wiping surfaces down? Are they putting items away? Or are they just standing idle on a personal device or chit-chatting?)
c. What is undone? If you’re thinking, “My mom/former boss/etc. wouldn’t leave that mess in the middle of their garage for three weeks,” then ask your supervisor if they would like you to put it away.
3. When you hear instructions, try one of the following tactics, depending upon the situation:
a. Make every attempt to not only hear, but to LISTEN. It’s ok to confirm and ask for more clear and concise direction, “You said you wanted that box of cans on the shelf by the compressor, right?” This will live little room for error. Faking it, until you make it can be a lucky path to success, but it will never build trust long term.
b. Take notes, take notes, take notes! Seriously. Keep a notepad in your pocket. Take 5-10 minutes at the end of the day where you were assigned new tasks to simply write it out. Review that process and possibly find a better way to do it!
4. When possible, do things in the same order every time, then add a new “task” to your routine. It may require extra time, but the goal is to make yourself indispensable.
5. Make sure you know “when the job is done”, i.e. is it done when the last screw is put in, when the tools are put away, when documents are filed, or a combination?
If you have any questions about becoming a Professional Employee, or have any thoughts about the blog, feel free to fill out the form below: