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How To Go Above And Beyond At Work For Career Success

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How To Go Above And Beyond At Work For Career Success

Long days, short deadlines, and never-ending workplace demands will take their toll. And with the transition to remote work this past year, no doubt you’re feeling the impact. Still, with all that’s changing in the world of work, your career success depends on whether you go above and beyond or settle with mediocrity.

Let’s start with your “Why?” If you prioritize career success, you need to build career capital. This is what you exchange for the career of your dreams.

For example, if you want more balance, greater opportunities, more earning potential, work that is rewarding and fulfilling, and the power to design a career that works for you, you need career capital. And you build this capital by going above and beyond.

But if investing in your capital and, ultimately, your career success isn’t enough reason to go above and beyond, here are three more reasons why:

  1. First, jobs are highly competitive. Recruiters and decision-makers are searching for candidates who stand out from the pack and have a history of going the extra mile.
  2. Secondly, budgets are tight. when leaders evaluate their team for cutbacks, they lean toward retaining the most valuable employees—high potentials, hard workers, strong expertise, and those willing to go above and beyond.
  3. Additionally, and by no means finally, going above and beyond comes with the satisfaction that you are building your skills, career reputation, and self-respect.

So, how do you build your career capital?

Well, it isn’t rocket science, but it does take some foresight and effort to garner the aforementioned benefits and more. As success expert and legendary motivational speaker and author Jim Rohn said, “Do more than what you are paid for as an investment in your future.” Those who do stand out and make it a daily habit will soar.

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To help you identify and formulate the practice of going above and beyond for career success, here are a few simple strategies:

1. Embrace Work Ethic

Buckle up friends, because going above and beyond is not a “one and done” activity. Rather, it’s a honed habit, nurtured over time that helps you stand apart from your colleagues and competition. Why? Because it’s a rare quality these days.

Going above and beyond is commonly known as “work ethic,” and work ethic means valuing and demonstrating good, quality, and hard work—sought after traits by employers. Too often, people look for shortcuts, the easy way, the magic bullet, and the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, this has become the norm.

It takes effort to embrace work ethic, but if you show that you are willing to put in the work to get great results, your possibilities are endless.

2. Demonstrate Your Leadership

As Mark Sanborn’s book aptly puts it “You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader,” and true leaders are people others want to follow.

Since leaders understand the importance of having a vision, they do the work necessary to realize that vision. When you know what your goals are—even if they are a little fuzzy—you have a target to shoot for. This not only helps you become more focused, productive, and more likely to achieve your desired outcomes but working on goals also demonstrates your leadership acumen.

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Other leaders like that. They are drawn to it and when you can align your goals with those of others, there is no stopping you.

3. Take the Initiative

If you prioritize career success, then you will never utter the phrase “That’s not my job.” Ambition is all about stepping in when the opportunity presents itself. Look for ways in which you can make contributions to your team and your supervisor. This may require putting in some extra hours or even spending some time on projects that are not your own.

Regardless of what it is you offer to do, helping others succeed is the hallmark of a great leader, and it’s also a behavior that gets noticed for all the right reasons. While this altruistic behavior is always welcome and certainly bodes well for your career reputation, let’s be honest—it’s more inviting when it aligns with your goals.

Say that your boss is working on developing their strategic planning report. Knowing that you have an interest in moving up the ladder and that this may eventually be something you’re asked to do, why not offer your help, even if it’s just to listen and offer feedback or brainstorming support?

In doing so, you are learning a valuable skill and demonstrating to your superior that you are a leader who’s willing to go above and beyond for your career success.

4. Communicate Like a Pro

The one skill we all need to continually hone is communication. Written, verbal, and non-verbal, presenting, sales, negotiation, are all critical career success skills that fall under the umbrella of communication. And when you go above and beyond, you’re communicating like a professional. In other words, you’ve taken the time necessary to build this skill and ensure all your communication is clear, brief, timely, and professional.

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A perfect example of this is how you handle emails. Brief and direct with outlined expected outcomes is the rule of thumb. While this may take extra time to prepare a well-written message, all your communication should serve a purpose and garner intended results.

Another way to go above in beyond is to be responsive. Most texts, emails, calls, and messages all warrant a response. Your reputation is not only tied to how thoughtfully you communicate but also on how you can always be counted on for a professional and timely reply.

Even better, make your response in person or pick up the phone and give someone a call. By doing so, you are not only demonstrating your professionalism but also that you’re willing to go above and beyond and handle matters confidently and directly. A “live” encounter offers the opportunity to add tone and clarity and shows that you are willing to put in the effort to create a win-win.

5. Develop Your Expertise

Success-minded individuals know the importance of continually honing their skills and expertise. If you want to go, you’ve got to grow.

Don’t wait for your supervisor to outline what training and conferences that you should attend. Go above and beyond by seeking opportunities for yourself. Start each month outlining what you will learn and the skill you plan to develop. Create a list of books, webinars, conferences, Ted Talks, courses, and mentoring opportunities to invest time in.

The good news is that most of these are free. Another compelling reason to create and engage in your own professional development plan is that it is a great way to build your network and impress your boss in your annual review.

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6. Build a Valuable Network

Routinely connecting with your network, meeting new people, attending networking events, and engaging in informational interviews are all activities required for career success. And all of these interactions should be a mutually-beneficial interaction.

It’s not about what these folks can do for you but how you can serve one another, even if it’s just listening, brainstorming, or lifting someone’s spirits with a check-in call. Remember that your network is the lynchpin for elevating your career. These are the folks that will help you open doors. And being a gracious connection, you should do the same for them.

Building your network will also help you go above and beyond at work. When you can bring people together, it not only helps solve a problem but it also makes you look pretty good. People appreciate the extra effort and thought and will return the favor.

So, be a power connector—leveraging your network in ways that help others and connect like-minded individuals in the process of going above and beyond. Take your supervisor. If you know a key decision-maker whom they should meet or a vendor that could help them with a project, this effort will not go unnoticed.

Recently, I was connecting with my mentor regarding a project that he was working on and needed help with. Thankfully, I had someone in my network who could assist him and that introduction opened the door to an offer for collaboration. It’s not about exchanging a name for an outcome, but rather, building your reputation as someone who goes above and beyond.

Final Thoughts

Opportunities abound to build your reputation as a leader, expert, connecter, communicator, and trusted colleague. And these are the competitive character traits in demand today. While it’s not hard to hone these skills, they do require work and one small effort of going above and beyond each day will compound over time and increase your capital. After all, it’s the only way to grow and sustain a successful career.

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More Tips on How to Go Above and Beyond at Work

Featured photo credit: Saulo Mohana via unsplash.com

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Kim Monaghan

Career Happiness Coach, HR Consultant, Trainer & Speaker

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Last Updated on January 10, 2022

What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

Do you remember being invited to your job interview? Do you feel the same way about your job today? There’s nothing more soul-destroying than waking up Monday morning dreading the fact that you’re about to step back into slavery for a job you hate.

You savor every minute at home before sadly turning the key in the lock to close your front door. From that moment on, you’re counting down the hours and minutes until it’s ‘TGIF’. Your anxiety might even start simmering well before your weekend is over.

Your boss might be a bully or a manager who cannot actually lead and guide their team. Receiving mixed messages, being twisted and turned in multiple directions with none of the directives being for any real benefit can plummet your motivation and satisfaction so deep you’ll almost hit the Earth’s core.

You love what you do and what you trained for, but any potential ounce of enjoyment has now completely evaporated. You feel dead in the water.

You might be shocked at the suggestion that if you’re feeling these things, it’s actually a very good sign! You’re likely to be on the cusp of a significant cross-road that is going to change your life.

Is Hating Your Job Normal?

Do you feel horrible when you think about your job? Like everything in life, your job will always keep changing. Every day won’t be perfect. Some days will be challenging.

However, you’ll always know when things are not right. You’ll know whether you are having a bad week or you are in a toxic situation. If you hate your job, you are not alone.

A study conducted by Gallup found that 85 percent of the workforce in the world is unhappy.[1] If you hate your job, you need to examine where you are, whether you can improve your situation or if you should think of submitting a weeks notice of resignation to start a new job search.

How to Cope When You Hate Your Job

What to do when you hate a job that you once loved? The following key steps are going to set you back on the golden path to enjoying career success despite the muddy waters you currently find yourself in.

1. Recognize the Signs of Discomfort

Long gone are the days where we might expect to join a business or corporation and spend our lifetime working our way up into a cushy senior management role that will take care of us and our families for the rest of our lives. In fact, it’s actually risky business to even think this way.

Pay rises are less frequent. Your skills and opportunities to expand your skills are now limited by staying within one job or organization. By definition, having a career means being on a continuous journey of development.

Nowadays, the average person changes jobs in their lifetimes between 10 and 15 times. [2] Not changing job environments caps your capacity to grow your knowledge and strengthen your capabilities. You actually make yourself less employable.

With the globalization of many businesses, you’re not only competing against people in your local neighborhood for your ideal role, you’re competing with folks from other cities, interstate, cross-country, and overseas.

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Some organizations are evolving with a constant focus on being innovative, taking calculated risks, and embracing new technologies — those that aren’t are falling to the wayside. If you don’t flow with the changing tides yourself, you could quickly find yourself stuck stagnant on a sinking ship with no lifeline.

Monday morning blues are a key sign that you hate your job and it’s time to start thinking and doing things differently. What you are feeling is actually a blessing in disguise.

2. Work with A Career Coach And/or Therapist

When we really detest our daily grind, it’s high time to keep a lookout for the development of symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

Don’t just look for physical signs such as feeling greater and frequent fatigue, increased emotional eating, poor sleep. Loss of motivation, concentration and lower general interest not just in your work but in your personal life activities and relationships…these signs should raise alarm bells.

Your friends and family might start reflecting they’re fed up of hearing about how your boss is constantly laying blame on you for their mistakes.

Tolerance has worn thin listening to constant complaints about your doing the work of two people yet never confronting your boss about it. Continuing to play the broken record of your pain is not only sucking the lifeblood out of you but your friends and family as well.

Don’t hold off working with a therapist and/or career coach when you notice these things. Both professionals will help you recognize the full picture of your experience and how it’s impacting you. Of greatest value is their helping you to start identifying changes you need to make and how to turn those into reality.

When your emotional, physical and mental resources are drained from coping with your soul-destroying nine-to-five, your mindset is unlikely to have the optimal sensibility to hatch your escape plan.

You’re likely to be operating from a fixed mindset of desperation than innovation and run the stakes of moving from one crappy job situation to another.

Invest focus to rediscovering your worth, career interests and learning how to dream big again. Go deep in exploration of what your values are around what you want your work to give to you and mean to you.

If working with a coach or therapist feels like an uncomfortable step for you, consider looking into undertaking a course that helps you work through these questions. Give yourself a gentle kick to ignite momentum in a different direction.

3. Change Your Workspace

Hostile or toxic work environments lead to competition, negativity, bullying, unrest, sickness, and high turnover. A toxic workplace is just one of the signs that you hate your job and can poison your personal and professional life.

Working in a toxic workplace feels horrible. And it takes little effort for the workspace to become toxic. Why do workplaces become hostile and toxic? When leaders cultivate the culture of me-first or kill or be killed, the workplace becomes toxic.

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Other organizations start well and fall into the trap of chasing power or money. At times, a single employee can cause the entire workplace to become toxic. And it takes a lot of time to restore such an organization.

The best thing that you can do for yourself and others working in a toxic environment is to get out.

4. Don’t Be Stagnant for A Long Time

Do your colleagues and loved ones congratulate you on your work anniversary? What comes to mind when they wish you the best in your career? You might start wondering what you’ve been doing over the past couple of years because you’ve been at a standstill. And you don’t like it at all.

It’s quite difficult to identify stagnancy in a job. And when you do, you’ll start feeling like you are doing the same things over and over. Before you realize it, five years have passed and you haven’t developed yourself in any way. This eventually leads to a lack of passion for your job.

You might feel stagnant at your job for several reasons. First, you could be the problem. If your job is easy and there’s no one to challenge you, you’ll find yourself going with the flow. Prolonged stagnancy can lead to burnout.

To avoid this, you need to ensure that your career challenges and excites you. While your career shouldn’t be your life’s purpose, it should be something that inspires and motivates you.

Regardless of your post, you’ll always need to be creative to move forward. You need to find simple ways to infuse creativity in your job. You can start organizing files or developing your design skills.

5. Read Simon Sinek’s Find Your Why

Reading Find Your Why by globally renowned organizational consultant and speaker Simon Sinek could be a transformational step in finding your way back to experiencing a successful and enjoyable career.

Sinek and his co-authors explain there isn’t really a difference between having a professional why and a personal why.

It’s just as much the reason why your friends and family love you as an expression of the work you put yourself into every day. It’s less about tasks and activities and really about what emotional and mental satisfaction doing those things brings you.

What results is a beautiful tapestry of people not just experiencing an incredible product or service from you. You love what you do, create and get to give and they love you back for channeling that passion into that service and product they experience to benefit from.

This article also guides you through to discover your why:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

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6. Try to Avoid Workplace Burnout

When you have a lot of duties and responsibilities at work, you’ll have limited or no time for yourself and your loved ones. Working all the time can lead to stress and burnout.

One of the popular types of burnout that you’ll experience is worn-out burnout. Worn-out burnout is usually experienced by employees who are always overworked with little or no positive outcomes.

Burnout usually happens because the cycle is continuous and it starts taking from your professional life, relationships, personal life, and your health. You can avoid workplace burnout by balancing your working life and personal life.

7. Consider Expanding Your Thinking and Entrepreneurial Flair

You might think “I’ll always be an employee” and the thought of starting a business might scare the living daylights out of you. Even then, there is a strong chance you have monetizable talents that could, at the very least, swiftly direct your mindset away from the chilling notion of being stuck in your dead-end job for eternity.

The thought of creating a product or service all by yourself could be dauntingly foreign. Doing something like this could feel like ridiculously fathoming a climb of Mt Everest when you don’t know the first thing about climbing or hiking!

But once you start looking and having explorative conversations with different mindsets about ideas, instead of debriefing the horrible day you had yet again in your job, things will start to change. Like Sleeping Beauty being awoken from slumber by Prince Charming’s first kiss, you’ll start discovering a whole new way of thinking you won’t ever want to harness.

Look at what skills you have to perform your current job. What skills have you acquired in the past that might simply have been dormant for a little while? Do you miss being able to exercise certain skills?

When you have the discussion with your career coach, you’ll discover there are probably many more skills, knowledge and experiences you could even package and sell than you realize. However, remember: it’s not just about the money. It never should be.

Even if you have been an administrator for many years, could the next step be writing introductory course administrators or young job seekers could benefit from? There is no better teacher or education platform to learn from than hands-on experience. It might be a side gig you create which you pitch to and deliver at high schools and job-seeking agencies.

You might create a face-to-face workshop and/or an accompanying course that you create and sell on online education platforms such as Udemy or Teachable.

Your course might inform and teach interview techniques and communication tips for working with managers and bosses. You might suggest what exercising initiative looks like and what individuals can do to help themselves feel comfortable and confident early in their jobs.

There often is nothing more satisfying than learning and knowing that someone else’s challenges and problems were overcome because of wisdom and experience we could share with them. We all have something we can teach and offer people. What might you have to offer?

8. Consider What You Want to Be Doing, Not Just What You’re Currently Doing

It’s time to start letting the masses know what you’re capable of, not just in terms of what you have done but what you’re aspiring towards and charging forward to achieve.

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Global recruitment firm Robert Half explains how personal branding is essential to progress and enjoy a successful career.[3] Providing an impressive sounding resume and a cover letter are no longer enough.

What we engage with and how we show up online and offline is taken into account more now than ever. So we need to be strategic.

If you are looking for opportunities to work in overseas companies in your industry, you might consider researching best practices other off-shore companies are engaging in and writing your own short LinkedIn post about it.[4] Or you may simply look to post a link to what you have found and provide short critical evaluations about it.

Start thinking about how you market yourself and stop leaving it to chance. Whilst many think social media is only for personal social items, consider how your engagement on these platforms portrays you to your audiences. Steer potential employers and business partners to see you as you want to be seen, not just as you are.

9. Get Back on Track by Learning New Things

When you are waking up each day with a sick feeling in your stomach knowing work duties call, there is a hard reality you have to face:

It’s your responsibility to make the necessary changes. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you feel happy or satisfied with your work. At the end of the day, it’s yours.

If you want to have a successful career, you have to take charge of the direction and types of experiences you want to have on your journey. Where do you want to go? How far and why? What training or opportunities might give you this? Is it executive coaching? Perhaps undertaking an MBA? Allow yourself to think laterally too.

Let’s say project management is a skill set you need to learn, or incompetent boss snidely commented you would never make it without these skills. Could volunteering to crew for an event speaking company platform fast track your learning as to what’s involved? Financial forecasting, marketing, resource and supplies management, working with different team member personalities and managing client relations…you could never gain hands-on experiential learning like this you via a classroom or online course.

The e-learning industry is forecast to reach $325USbillion by 2025.[5] With the quality of online learning gateways growing exponentially with very affordable costs of access to world-class teachers, golden opportunities to increase your skill set and knowledge are at your fingertips.

Never has there been a better time for you to design a career pathway and forge an enriching educational journey that feeds not just your professional curiosities but personal interests too.

Final Thoughts

No successful career has ever involved dancing to the same tune. When you find yourself despising your job more often than not, change is nigh. By using just one of these tips above, you can rechart your course to have a successful career.

In a short amount of time, you won’t only resuscitate the self-worth and recognition of our unique value that dead-end jobs can steal from you. You’ll enjoy deeper, prolonged levels of satisfaction, energizing self-discovery and opportunities to turn your career into a far more gratifying journey you could ever have imagined.

The best part is that you don’t even have to wait to land the dream job. The journey itself will be magical.

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Featured photo credit: Christian Battaglia via unsplash.com

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