Over the years, one question I found myself regularly asking is, “How can I make the most out of a job position?”. Earlier this April, I had a friend ask me, “Would you rather have worked ten years or have ten years of experience?”.
It took me a second to realize those were two completely different things.
You can work for ten years, doing the same thing over and over–or you can work for ten years, spending every moment you can learning a new lesson or building from your current skill set. So naturally, it makes you think, “Have I truly spent my working time well?”.
Why making the most out of job position matters
Regardless of your professional level, it’s imperative to remember that you always have room to grow–whether you like it or not! But I’d hope it’s the former because you can only move up and from here.
Most of all, making the most out of a current position means you could get everything you wanted out of it and more–the professional experience, job title, mentorship, more extensive network, etc.
I know that at the end of the day, we all want our paycheck–which is 10000% valid because we got bills to pay, families–pets included–to feed, and hobbies. Oh, and enjoying life and leisure in general, that’s another one too. More value, however, can accrue from that paycheck in another way: what you did during the time to earn it.
Here are our tips on how to make the most out of a job position:
1. Network and make connections within the company.
Everyone on your team has value–they’re the coworker who makes Monday morning more bearable with their easygoing attitude, the manager who checks up on you every two weeks, or the new intern taking their first steps into the professional world. But remember: don’t use them as tools to get into a better position. Yes, their connections or status can help you open the door to new opportunities, but know that networking is an equivalent exchange. This reminder can make the awkwardness of potentially slimy feelings that come with the word “networking” less threatening in your mind. To network is to form a business or professional relationship with another person; I’ll say that again: ”relationship.” Relationships are meant to be equal between people. Don’t forget that you have value to offer in return for helping others move up and accomplish their goals, too.
2. Sharpen your skill sets and show up.
Do you know what sucks? Stagnation. Especially stagnation with your skills. No matter how comfortable you are performing your job position’s responsibilities, always show up and put your best foot forward. The demands of agencies for advertising and SEO tactics, for example, are ever-changing. Experiences gained in your previous jobs still apply to your current position, but they also serve as the foundation to build upon themselves.
3. Set personal goals.
What do you hope to accomplish? Setting personal goals in a job position is a great way to give yourself something to work towards and place you in a stronger position. Take time to think about what matters most–what resonates with you; this could be anything from increasing the speed and efficiency of completing a task, underground mentorship to take on a managerial position eventually, or challenging yourself to overcome a weakness.
4. Seek growth opportunities.
Talk to your managers and leadership to see if they can refer you to opportunities for growth; this can include extra classes, conferences, events, and additional resources. If you have a spare moment during the day or a break, take the time to educate yourself on additional skills to strengthen your overall performance and make your skills even more valuable.
5. Ask questions and seek regular feedback.
Your manager and leadership are happy to support and help you! First, they expect you to ask questions, so don’t ever feel like you’re burdening them by not knowing an answer–as long as you know you can’t find it on your own. In conjunction, ask if there’s a chance they can share some insight on your current work performance. It never hurts to know if there’s a better way to perform a task–or if you need to keep doing what you’re doing!
6. Improve your work ethic and habits.
Downtime is typical throughout the work week, but make sure you don’t fall into the habit of procrastinating on tasks. Always remember that quality is always more important than quantity, and it’s better to be thorough than fast and need to make more revisions.
7. Get organized and into a solid routine.
Everything should have its proper place on your desk and computer. Fumbling around to find what you need disrupts the workflow. Instead, show some love to your future self and have all your materials prepared ahead of time. A few minutes spent being productive rather than lost can make a big difference in the number of tasks you get done in a day.
8. Set work boundaries.
Although hustling and grinding are great, what matters most is your health and well-being. So even if you’re tempted to complete one more task or work a bit of unnecessary overtime–don’t. Seriously. Separate yourself from work and the life you have outside of it. You’re going to burn out much faster and expend unnecessary energy. I used to suck at setting work boundaries because I feared being incompetent or lazy. You aren’t either of those adjectives–nor any negative adjective, for that matter–when all you want to do is take care of yourself.
9. Be open-minded.
There’s always something you don’t know–and that’s okay. Be open-minded to the idea that you can improve yourself in some way. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or make mistakes either. You’re a person, not a machine.
10. Keep a positive attitude.
Last but certainly not least, keep a positive attitude while working! There will be wrong, even terrible, days where it feels like everything is going wrong, but that’s just a part of the work-life, like everyday life! Sometimes, the best thing you can bring to work is a good attitude. Regardless of your beliefs, your actions and mood affect the team, so keeping them in mind is essential.