10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving in the Workplace

We can all survive and thrive in the office without a friendly, supportive work environment. Here’s how.

  1. Forget About Fate
    Don’t leave anything in your career to chance. Put together a profile of your ideal career and employer. Andrea Kay, a career consultant and executive coach in Cincinnati, recommends including your ideal corporate structure, management styles, industry and corporate values.
  2. Speak Up
    Don’t wait for your employer to initiate discussions about job performance and expectations. “Check in regularly,” Kay says. “Find out how you’re doing and if your manager’s expectations are the same ones you’re working on.”
  3. Foster Relationships
    The better you get along with coworkers, the easier your job will be and the better you’ll perform. “It’s much easier to work with folks if you get along,” says Lisa O’Neill, a public relations account executive at Trinity Communications in Boston. Make an effort to put aside personal differences for the sake of your working relationship.
  4. Give Credit
    Give coworkers and subordinates credit for their contributions. Dick Lyles, author of Winning Ways: Four Secrets for Getting Great Results by Working Well with People, says that competition with coworkers can be fatal. “Embrace this attitude: I win only if you win, and we all win together,” he says.
  5. Keep Learning
    A static knowledge base quickly becomes outdated and worthless. “Be sure you’re in a job where you’re going to keep learning,” says Anne Pauker, president of The Pauker Consulting Group, a human resources consultancy in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
  6. Find a Mentor
    There’s no substitute for the wisdom of others. Pair up with someone who has the skills and insight you need. “That’s not necessarily an all-perfect or influential person,” says Pauker. “It’s someone who can help you learn what you need to get ahead.”
  7. Balance Yourself
    Living and breathing your job is a sure-fire path to failure. You’ll burn out quickly if you don’t maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal lives. Be clear with your boss about your personal obligations, and don’t let work take precedence over them.
  8. Have Fun
    Organize after-hours activities for you and your coworkers. The chance to interact on a nonwork level can strengthen your working relationships. Some companies have social committees that plan events each quarter.
  9. Control the Damage
    Most of us will fail at some point in our careers. Some of us will get fired. Don’t despair, says Kay. Be honest about your share of the blame and take away a few lessons. “Create a list of lessons that you may have learned from the situation,” she says.
  10. Pursue Your Passion
    If you love what you do, you’ll do it well. “If I don’t feel passionate about something, I don’t have time to do it,” says Pauker. “That’s the filter I use.” Be just as selective; choose a career and a job that you know will be personally fulfilling.
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