A Quick and Dirty Guide to Getting What You Want (at your job)

Mar 8, 2011 by

If you’ve ever been at a job for more than a year (or even less), then you’ve been ready for more. More responsibility, more exciting work, more money, more whatever. If this is you, then here’s the deal: it’s time to quit bitching to your friends and get what you want. Or leave. But before you head out, here’s a quick and dirty guide to getting what you want at your job:

Courtesy of Flickr user ATIS547
  1. Make yourself indispensable – This really starts from Day 1, but if you haven’t done it yet then get started on it immediately. Do your job perfectly. No I’m not kidding and don’t let anyone tell you that perfection is impossible. Doing everything your job requires in the most perfect way possible is not only possible, it is achievable – it just takes lots of work and tons of preparation. If you want to move up and get more responsibility then you need to put in the time and effort to get it.
  2. Once you are indispensable at your job, become indispensable at others – Once you’ve perfected your job, volunteer for others. Figure out what your organization needs and become THE person who can do it. Take on work that isn’t yours and do that perfectly too. The whole point here is make sure your boss sees you as someone that he or she CAN NOT do without. If you do everything and more amazingly well, that will go pretty far in convincing him/her.
  3. Keep records – While you’re busy being amazing, you also need to be busy keeping track of everything you’re doing. Keep track of the tasks you are completing (on-time and on-budget), the projects you’re managing, the staff you’re supervising or project-managing, etc. Having evidence will be very important once you get to step 5.
  4. WAIT – Admittedly, this is the hardest step; God knows I have problems with it. But remember that it takes time to get your boss to realize how amazing you are and unless you’re in a situation where you’re getting screamed at daily or where labor law violations are occurring left and right, you can afford to wait.
  5. Ask for what you want – This step is the truly revolutionary one right? But the obvious can often go unnoticed. Once you’ve kicked butt at your job and others, kept good track of the work you have accomplished and then waited for your work to become visible, YOU NEED TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT (I recommend setting up a specific meeting with your boss to talk about it). It could be a raise, it could be a promotion, it could be a new computer or office or anything else, but you need to be clear about what you want and why you deserve it.
  6. Have a backup plan – For whatever reason, your boss might not be able to give you what you want right away. If there is a legitimate reason, you need to have something else in your back pocket: if you wanted a raise, maybe you’ll take a title promotion and the promise to explore the idea of a raise later (get a date commitment); if you wanted a promotion, maybe you can take additional vacation time and a raise, etc. If the reason isn’t legitimate then you need to know what you will do after that. You don’t want to stop doing your job to the best of your ability, but you do want to think about going somewhere else where you can get the props you deserve for your hard work. But if your boss has half a brain, she or he will give you what you want and promise more so that you’ll stay and keep doing kick-ass work.

What did I miss? What have you done in the past to get what you want? Have you ever asked and then had to leave when you didn’t get what you wanted? I want to hear from you!

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