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How to get ahead with proper planning

Updated on December 24, 2011
Office People
Office People

If anything, Generation Y is in a tearing hurry to get hold of its dreams, reach its goals and pip the world to the winning post. Admirable quality? Yes, but not in an unqualified way. Apart from burning out too soon, these youngsters often end up being too pushy and overly ambitious. Result? In their race to the top, they step on a lot of people’s corns. Well, the corns also have feet attached to them, which hurt, and when they hurt real badly, the owners of those feet retaliate and strike back – and battle lines are drawn.

Now, that is by no standard for a healthy working atmosphere with colleagues baying for each other’s blood. On the other hand, being laid back doesn’t help you get what you want and you’ve GOT to have the killer instinct if you want to make it to the top. So where does that leave these wannabe go-getters?

In a state of confusion, of course! But, since all situations can be handled using a little psychology.

Bosses are a class apart—likeʻem or lump ʼem. We usually lump them, given their idiosyncrasies. And taking credit for all the inspired ideas as well as the hard labour of their employees is one of them. All successes, big or small, go to the bosses kitty – almost as if it were their birthright!

Then, expectedly, there brews discontentment and resentment among employees. Like, for instance, you came up with a brilliant idea for sales promotion, and its execution led to a big leap in sales and so, swathed in smiles, you looked for a pat on the back. Very natural, you’d say. But what do you get? Very often not so much as a by-your-leave; and you are just left feeling cheated, exploited and ready to vent some spleen. The scene sounds vaguely familiar? Of course it does, because this happens everywhere and all the time.

How do you tackle this situation? Getting on the boss back with incriminations is a bad idea – it could cost you your job. Sulking isn’t such a great idea either – your boss may not notice it and even if he did, he may give a damn! Try being diplomatic – when people and colleagues discuss the project and what a success it has been, say that it was a team effort and everyone concerned pitched in. This way, you’d be able to take the thunder out of your boss’s sails without seeming to do so and will also not appear to be seeking credit for yourself alone. Of course, it’ll still be a little frustrating not to be able to claim your due credit but this is the only practical way to make the best of a bad situation.

Confide In a Colleague

It wouldn’t be wise to confide in a colleague that the superhit formula was yours because you know how the office grapevine works – the boss may chance upon this tidbit and may not take too kindly to it and you may jump out of the frying pan into the fire! The next time you are ticking with a bombshell of an idea, keep it to yourself till the opportune moment and spring it on the boss when you have an audience, or in the presence of some key person(s) in your organization so that your boss isn’t able to waltz away with the applause.

Hey, you think you have it in you to shoulder a bigger responsibility than what you have at present? In other words, you feel you deserve a promotion, right? But getting the boss to feel the same way is another matter. Simply asking for a promotion or a raise is a jejune way to go about it and the boss’s response is usually and expectedly discouraging.

So do your homework first. This means that, if you are eyeing a particular post, then check out the job requirements entailed and how you can do justice to those. Be objective and factual, not biased and unrealistic. In case you feel that you are falling a little short of the job profile, do not be ashamed to admit it, and then go about rectifying it.

Enroll for some classes if need be, read up relevant journals, enlist the help of a senior colleague as mentor and then, when you feel you are totally ready to take on added responsibility, prepare a concise but comprehensive document which shows how you are best qualified to deal with the job requirements of the post you covet.

Or, better still, if the present incumbent (or, if there are more than one holder for the same post, then one of the incumbents) takes a short leave, then offer to fill in for him or her for that period and then do such a terrific job that the boss is left with no doubt in his or her mind about your suitability for that post and, in all likelihood, would soon be offering/recommending you (for) the same!

But such situations happen to the lucky ones; if there is no guardian angel looking out for you, then youʼve gotta take things in your own hands. In that case, go prepare that document I just told you about!

If you have been working your ass off and feel that a holiday is long overdue, don’t just open the door of the boss’s cabin and ask for it. The boss will probably overlook the fact that you’ve been putting in that extra hour here and there and feel that you are not giving him his money’s worth by asking for “Time Out”. So sniff around and find out from colleagues if and how they’ve been rewarded for their extra labour and then just toe the line. This is not an issue big enough to put your job in jeopardy. If the concept of “overtime” is not entertained at your workplace, so be it.

Let job satisfaction be your reward for that extra mile you walked. If in future you get the opportunity to bring up the matter for consideration, grab it – maybe the concept of monetary reward for extra time was never introduced because no one had brought it up before; now that you have, it might be worth a chance!

If your boss is assigning significant projects to deserving people, then stick around for yours. In case you come out empty-handed, it could mean one of two things – 1. You are not as efficient as you think you are, or 2. Your boss doesn’t have a very flattering opinion about you, for goodness-knows-what reason. Well, you ask yourself, “Now what?”

You either merge into the background and maintain a low profile and keep working doggedly in the hope of better luck next time, or you have a more proactive approach and decide to have a piece of the action, in any capacity – i.e., even as assistant to your colleague who has bagged your favourite project. That youʼve got to swallow your pride and expunge all jealousy from your heart is a moot point. Word will soon get around that you can be counted upon to work together as a team without any ego hassles. Trust me, this will enhance your value in the organization.

These are some of the solution to stumbling blocks you may encounter, but there’ll always be others. When a sticky situation arises, play it by ear and use solid common sense. Remember, the outcome is largely decided by the attitude you project – aggressive or assertive, professional or whimsical, mature or juvenile, cool-headed or rash. So, if you feel like throwing some attitude, curb the impulse – it may have far-reaching implications.

If you want your way, then go about it intelligently. So then, bring on the grey cells and then go hitch your wagon to a star!


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