If people want to move up in this world, especially in our careers, it’s all about impressions and perceptions. But it shouldn’t be.
If you work in any kind of position where there are several people that have the same job title, the competition can grow to be quite fierce. Any and every employee takes the opportunities given to them so they can shine like the stars whenever the boss is around so he or she can attempt at getting noticed. If you put yourself out there far enough to try and get that promotion or to have another manager recommend you for promotion, I’m just saying it may cost you in the end.
The cliche’ phrase “Work smart, not hard” works well in this scenario. People spend their entire day busting their asses, just hoping for that millisecond of airtime where the boss will walk by and see how diligent they are or how quick you are to respond to e-mails.
The truth is, that hardly ever works. In fact, in most cases it happens to be just the opposite. Managers WANT to see their subordinates working hard, but their arrival times could not be more off track. Say for instance, one of the company executives is flying in from out of town. You receive several “FYI” emails regarding his presence in the building and for everyone to be on their “best behavior.” The second everyone gets that email, we all start working like there’s a deadline in an hour and we haven’t been working on it at all for the two months prior. Of course, as everybody works their asses off, people begin to slowly realize that if they keep this up, there’s going to be some serious downtime left on the plate. That is when the company executive decides to mosey on down your rows of cubicles and peeks over your cubicle only to find you watching a YouTube video of a polka band performing the latest Britney Spears single.
I know, you’re cringing at the imagery, right?
Even though you were working harder than you’ve probably ever worked before with no downtime, that isn’t what the executive saw. Now, when it comes time to promote somebody from within your department, your name will come up and the executive’s response to the recommendation will be, “That’s not the guy who I caught messin’ around with that YouTube is it?”
So, case in point, just because you get that frightful email that one of the “big guns” are in the building, don’t freak out. It isn’t worth it. Just continue at the normal pace you generally keep yourself at, and you won’t find yourself in a predicament where you have nothing else to do with the day besides checking out the Facebook photos someone posted of the beerfest from over the weekend.