Career Ladder Mantras

marie claire

I Won't Get Involved In Office Gossip

Being known as the office gossip certainly won’t win you any brownie points with the boss and it could tarnish your reputation. “All you need to remember is that if someone is gossiping about other people, they’ll have no hesitation gossiping about you,” cautions Jillian Williams, senior consultant for C-F-S Career Management. “You have more important things to do with your time so be friendly, but don’t engage.” Have a response ready for the next time the office gossip comes to you to talk about your colleagues. Saying, “I don’t feel comfortable about knowing this”, should stop them in their tracks.
Mid-year wobble? Ask yourself whether that juicy secret you’ve heard could hurt somebody, or has been passed to you by someone who has something to gain from another person’s mistake.

6 Hazards That Could Kill Your Career

I Will Try To Be A Solutions Person

Things go wrong at work, but by trying to put them right you’ll carve a reputation as a can-do person. “Put yourself in your boss’s shoes,” advises Kathleen Alexander, principal career coach at Clever Fox. “From their perspective they want an inner circle of staff who they can rely on, who can demonstrate they are capable of solving problems – people they can trust to get things done.” When a problem arises, work backwards from the ideal outcome and trace the steps that would get you there. “Go to your boss with the issue at hand and present different solutions. It will make their job easier when you’ve done the thinking, and all they need to do is decide on the action based on the choices you present.”
Mid-year wobble? Tackle things differently for fresh results – use new reference materials, hold a brainstorming session or seek advice from someone you admire.

I Won't Let My Career Drift

You wouldn’t set off to drive across the country without knowing your route beforehand, and you should take the same attitude with your career. “We suggest that people write a ‘fuzzy’ career plan, because people don’t always know what they want and are afraid of committing something to paper,” advises Kate James, career coach at Total Balance. “Put down any thoughts you may have about your career path, and break it down into little ‘action steps’ that will move you towards where you want to be.” Once you’ve got your fuzzy career plan laid out, you can reassess it every few months and tweak it as necessary.
Mid-year wobble? Find yourself a mentor who works in your industry, or the industry you want to be in. They can help you develop your career plan and keep you motivated to achieve your goals.

I Will Get Paid What I'm Worth

According to a 2011 CommSec report, the gender pay gap is at its widest for 23 years, with the average male wage outstripping a female’s by $12,870. So it’s never been more important to ensure you’re being paid fairly. Scour job ads and find out what similar roles pay. If your salary is lacking, Williams says preparation is key. “Use your job description to ensure that all aspects of the role are currently covered and you are sufficiently managing all areas required. List the extra duties you’re performing and the result or output of these – in financial terms, how much money you are bringing into or saving the organisation.”
Mid-year wobble? If your first request is refused, make an appointment to discuss it again at a later date. Also, ask about other perks to mark your worth to the company, such as extra holidays, or gym membership.

I Won't Keep Quiet

We’ve all been guilty of not speaking up at work and missing out on a great opportunity. Alex Wileman, senior consultant for C-F-S Career Management, advocates asking for what you want. “When you feel intimidated about asking for something in the workplace, remember that everyone has felt the same way.” So what strategies can you use if you want to ask your boss if you can work on a particular project, or work flexible hours? “Try positive thinking,” suggests Wileman. “Recall a situation when you were proud of your achievements, and the feeling of power when you overcame something you were afraid of.” Career management specialist Annemarie Cross agrees: “Continue to put yourself forward for projects and opportunities that will help build your skill set, so you remain highly employable.”
Mid-year wobble? Invest in your career if you want to be taken seriously. Put your hand up for training opportunities and attend industry workshops and expos.

I Will Go The Extra Mile

By putting in the extra time and effort to get things done, you’ll make a name for yourself in the office that will see your career soar. “There’s a saying, ‘It’s never crowded along the extra mile’, and this is because most people baulk at doing what it takes to be successful,” explains executive coach Claire Burgess. “People who stand out, get promoted and have their dream jobs are those who are prepared to do what it takes.” Look for opportunities in the office where you can demonstrate your commitment. Put yourself forward for projects that other people shy away from, come up with initiatives to make your company run more efficiently and volunteer to stay late when required.
Mid-year wobble? Being successful at work is as much about what you do in the office as what you don’t. Go the extra mile, but don’t forget you also need time out to stay productive.

I Will Find A Job I Love

A good job won’t necessarily make you happy, but a bad job can certainly make you miserable. Cross suggests making a commitment to finding the job you love. “Enhance your self-awareness – identify your strengths, skills, what you enjoy doing, career values and interests,” she says. By doing this, you can get an idea of the sort of role you’d thrive in. And if you’re having problems sorting through your strengths, ask friends and family what they think you’re good at. “Identify your achievements and create a powerful résumé that showcases you as a valuable employee, practise your interview skills, and get out there and find a job you love.”
Mid-year wobble? Try tweaking your current role to make it work better for you. Consider strategies such as teaming up with a colleague who’s great with numbers, delegating if your workload is too heavy, or requesting flexible hours if you hate your long commute.

How To Develop Your Career Mantra
1. Find a mentor
Research at Sun Microsystems in 2006 found that staff who took part in its mentoring program were promoted five times more often than those who didn’t.

2. Make a plan
“Set a start date, develop a strategy and write a list of points to help you reach your goal,” advises life coach Lisa Branigan. “Break it down into manageable pieces and tackle it one step at a time.”

3. Be prepared for obstacles
Achieving your career mantra will take time and dedication, so think about the things that may trip you up along the way and develop strategies for dealing with them.

4. Get support
"It’s much easier to stay in action if you feel supported and accountable to someone,” says Branigan. “You could buddy up with a friend or relative, as long as you’re sure they will support you.”