Employment

What Does It Take to Get Ahead in the Workplace?

 

black business men

(Photo Credit: My Fredo)

With the competition in today’s workplace growing more fierce than ever, employees need to take advantage of every opportunity they have to get ahead in their jobs. Whether it’s gaining additional education, taking on leadership roles for company projects, or going above and beyond the call of duty when providing customer service, it often takes all this and more to secure that promotion and raise you’ve always wanted. If you’re ready to take your place among the elite within your company, here are some proven ways you’ll be able to get ahead at your company.

Always Find Something to Do

For many workers who complete their tasks and have some downtime, they can’t wait to pull out their smartphone or take a break at the water cooler. However, if you want to get ahead, always be the person who finds something to do. Whether it’s simply cleaning your work area or completing some additional training, chances are your supervisor will notice your productive efforts.

Earn Additional Education

If you’re looking to move into a management position, you’ll probably not only need on-the-job experience but some additional education as well. For example, if you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree, consider pursuing a master’s degree to help you stay ahead of your competitors. By doing so, you’ll be demonstrating initiative and a desire to improve yourself, something that will not go unnoticed by your supervisor.

Create Positive Relationships

From the top executives in your company to the custodian who cleans your office, develop positive relationships with everyone. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish a reputation as a friendly person who knows how to work well with people of various backgrounds, which is necessary for promotion.

Become a Leader

When an important project comes up, don’t be afraid to ask for a leadership role. If you can become the go-to person who can solve a crisis, you’ll be demonstrating skills that will serve you well as a manager or executive. By speaking up during meetings and presenting ideas that prove to be useful and result in success, those in charge of promotions will surely think of you the next time there’s an opening.

Show Up for Work

While this sounds simple enough, plenty of employees gain reputations for being “sick” far more often than other workers. Therefore, if you want to get ahead at your company, show up for work as often as possible. If you do, your supervisor will look at you as a reliable person, making you a go-to person time and time again.

Learn from the Top Employees

In any company, some employees seem to be able to do their jobs in an almost perfect manner. If you’re smart, you’ll connect with these people and learn the secrets to their success. By being around these people as much as possible, asking questions of them, and watching what they do and how they do it, you’ll learn skills that will put you in the fast lane to promotion. If possible, ask one of them to be your mentor. Mentorship is crucial to experiencing the highest level of success possible.

By keeping these tips in mind and implementing them, you can put yourself on a great career path. From gaining a mentor to always showing up to work when possible, your supervisor will undoubtedly realize you’re the perfect choice for a promotion.

Resources Consulted:

Heading Back to College

Importance of Being On Time

Building Great Work Relationships

WGU Master of Business Administration

Ways to Stay Busy on a Slow Work Day

Becoming a Leader at Work

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Are You Eligible to Work?

Business Employment

Businesses need to understand specific laws to avoid serious legal repercussions. For starters, they should check the eligibility of their employees. After reviewing the eligibility of the workers, employees are to complete an I-9 employment verification form. A business may face various legal penalties for hiring someone without properly assessing their legal documents. This piece investigates the I-9 employment verification form and the legal consequences of failing to follow employment eligibility and verification laws.

I-9 Employment Form

Who should complete the form? The I-9 employment verification form is to be executed by both the employee and the employer. The employee responds to the first section and the employer fills in the second section. What is its importance? The form is necessary for employer verification of workers hired after November 1986.

Legal Repercussions

American employment laws make it illegal to hire unauthorized workers knowingly. On the first day the employee arrives, business owners are required to check his or her documents to ensure the individual is legally allowed to work in the United States. Business owners can give workers up to 3 days from the day they started working to bring proper identification or proof their eligibility to work.

After checking the eligibility of employees, business owners are mandated to finish the I-9 employment verification form, regardless of each employee’s nationality. When businesses fail to perform these measures, they violate federal immigration laws. Each violation calls for paying a fine between $110 -$1,100. Although this fine may not seem much to medium-sized and large businesses, they can prove costly for most small businesses. 

Documents that Show You Are Eligible to Work in the United States

For an employer to hire you and finalize the I-9 employment verification form for you, you need to have specific items. The following is a list of some of the items required:

  • Unexpired temporary resident card
  • Unexpired employment authorization card
  • Unexpired reentry permit
  • Unexpired refugee travel document
  • Expired or unexpired US passport
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Unexpired foreign passport with form I-94 showing that your employment authorization is not expired
  • Alien registration receipt card having a photograph
  • Driver’s license/voter registration card

In short, for you to work legally in the United States, you must meet the aforementioned eligibility requirements. After achieving the eligibility requirements, the employee and employer complete the I-9 employment verification form. As previously mentioned, hiring workers without filling in the I-9 employment verification form may bring business owners grave legal repercussions, including a fine of up to $1,100 for each offense.

Resources Consulted

Verify Protect

JDP

LinkedIn

The Balance

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Choose Your Principles Over Your Paycheck

Don’t let fear of being terminated from your job result in you surrendering your principles.  Some people are willing to capitulate who they are just to keep their paycheck.  While it’s a reality that you need a paycheck to survive, there are other employers who can supply you with a paycheck than the employer who currently does.  I have witnessed too many individuals who will do the wrong things just to be viewed as doing the right things in eyes of their supervisors.  While there is certainly nothing wrong with treating your supervisor with respect, he or she is not your master.

Too many people are allowing themselves to be enslaved by their supervisors.  When one relies too heavily upon capitalist ideology without engaging in critical thinking, the individual will begin to view himself or herself as being powerless at his or her place of employment.  The individual will feel that what one’s supervisor says must be done—no matter how wrong it is.

If your supervisor is mistreating you and/or requiring you to do something that the law safeguards you from, you don’t have to accept what your supervisor is doing to you.  The law is on your side against reckless supervisors who abuse their power.

Stop running around kissing your supervisor’s butt!

When you let someone take advantage of you all of the time, he or she will continue to take advantage of you.  It’s up to you to break this cycle.  People think that when they run around and kiss their supervisor’s butt their supervisor is going to appreciate them more—that’s foolishness!  Wake up!  If you’ve been doing great work for a long time and your supervisor does not already appreciate you, what makes you think kissing his or her butt is going to make him or her appreciate you?

What you say matters.  Therefore, stop calling your supervisor “boss.”  Your supervisor is not your ruler—he or she just gives you a paycheck.  You’re a liberated American who does not have to dance to the tune of your supervisor.  When they made one job, they made another one.  When they made one paycheck, they made another one.  Remember this the next time you find yourself acting all fake around your supervisor.

When you don’t like something that your supervisor says or does, then let him or her know it.  Too many people just fuss about their mistreatment at their jobs at their kitchen tables, but they are unwilling to make the public aware of the injustices that take place in the workplace.  What you say at your kitchen table is not going to matter if it’s not concatenated with meaningful action.

Be willing to give up your supervisor and not your principles.  Principles matter!  If you will allow your supervisor to say and do anything just to keep a paycheck, then you’re making it easy for your employer to exploit you.  People who are principled individuals will not willingly accept exploitation.  They vehemently fight exploitation, especially from those who are in positions of power.

Your values and beliefs that define you are more important than the paycheck you’re currently receiving.  You can get another job.  You didn’t have a job before you got your current one.  While I can understand for those of you who live from paycheck to paycheck can believe that receiving your paycheck is a matter of survival, I encourage you to look for potential employment elsewhere and consider ways you can advance yourself, including furthering your education, to significantly diminish your worries about losing your current job.

Don’t be a prostitute for your employer!

If your supervisor extends a contract to you that has a stipulation in it that tramples your constitutional rights, don’t be a fool and accept that contract as is.  If you’re going to accept the contract, indicate that your signature does not represent a relinquishing of any safeguards guaranteed by the Constitution.  Your life is more valuable than any paycheck.

Of course, I’m not advocating for you to be a reckless person at your job who is rude to everyone for no reason.  However, when your supervisor is not being fair to you, don’t accept this inequity just to keep your paycheck coming in without any problems.  When your supervisor feels like he or she can do anything to you, your paycheck is not safe in the first place.  Therefore, you need to be proactive to not only protect your paycheck but also to protect your principles.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Make Sure People Earn Their Degrees

Many people find ways to cut corners to obtain their degrees and graduate without the ability to meet the basic expectations of their employers.  Even many students from the nation’s leading colleges and universities find ways to cut corners to obtain their degrees.  What’s going to happen to you when you get hired and don’t have the slightest idea about how to do the job your degree implies you can do?  It’s going to result in you having more than shame—you’re going to have a useless piece of paper that you call a degree.

You cannot get people to complete all or most of your assignments, especially the most difficult ones, and expect to be ready for a job in your degree field.  If you lack the ability to perform beyond basic reading and writing tasks, you will inevitably be exposed.  A time is going to arrive when your weaknesses in reading and writing is going to cause your performance in the workplace to be less than satisfactory.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeking assistance with things you don’t understand.  Smart people understand that when they need help to seek it.  This does not mean, however, that you should have to receive assistance with all major assignments.  If you’re a person truly fit to be an undergraduate or graduate student, you should be able to execute the majority of the tasks assigned to you in your degree program.

If people have to complete, edit, and/or revise all of the work you do for school, are you really deserving of receiving a degree?  Is it fair to potential employers for you to waste their time when you know you have not obtained the essential skills they are looking for when they hire someone with the degree you have or are pursuing?  If you have ever submitted work that someone has completed for you, then you have not earned your degree.  If you have ever purchased a paper from an online website and turned in that paper, then you have not earned your degree.

Colleges and universities have academic honesty policies for real reasons.  Academic honesty policies help colleges and universities to ensure that they are awarding degrees that are worth more than the paper they are printed on.  If you submit work that is you not your own, then you have evinced an unwillingness to do the work necessary to learn what your professors desired of you to satisfactorily complete the course requirements.  If you have completed work that is not completely your own, then you have committed academic fraud.  For those who commit academic fraud, your degree is in jeopardy of not being awarded to you or being taken away from you.

The American workplace needs to be populated with individuals who are truly ready for the challenging demands of the 21st century.  If you have to cheat to obtain your degree, then you’re not ready for the 21st century workplace.  The reality is college is not for everyone.

For those of us who worked hard and earned our degrees, we need to report academic fraud when we see it.  People who commit academic fraud and pretend that they are ready to enter the workforce in their degree field do us all a great disservice.  Too many important positions are being filled by people who are not prepared to execute the duties of these positions.  Many of these positions are filled by those lacking the competency to perform even the most basic duties of the positions, thus putting the lives of innocent people in danger.

Many individuals who cheated their way through undergraduate and graduate study are too arrogant to seek and accept help from people who they work with to help them to overcome their lack of understanding of critical aspects of their job.

Why waste a significant amount of time in school by letting people do your work and graduate with no knowledge to perform the duties of jobs in your degree field?

Ensuring academic honesty is a matter of public safety.

We should not allow people who lack the competency to perform jobs, especially in positions where lives are at stake, to be eligible to be hired for those jobs.  For example, we don’t want people who have committed academic fraud going into the healthcare industry where they can endanger the lives of so many people.  Therefore, if you know people who are committing academic fraud and/or have committed academic fraud and they are going into the healthcare industry or another area where they could risk the lives of numerous Americans, you need to report them.  By reporting them, you could not only help to save the lives of many Americans, you may just save your own life.

Let’s take a stand against those who cheat while in college because we will have to pay severely when these people get positions in fields where they can do us all great harm.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Got a Ph.D. and No Job? Huh?


I really never thought it would be possible for someone to earn a Ph.D., which is the highest degree one can earn in any field, and not be able to get a job. I have, however, been able to see a recent example of this. What this tells me is people who are in Ph.D. programs are going to have to make strong efforts to obtain positions before they actually graduate. You cannot sit back and wait until you have graduated before you try to get a position. My early thoughts on this issue have me to think that a person like this really did not do good work while he or she was in graduate school. I often hear graduate students talking about what they have done, but the things they are saying are really not substantive achievements that employers will value. Some graduate students have tried to hate on me and criticize me, but what they have to recognize is my numerous authentic accomplishments have enabled me to gain previous and current positions—while I am still in graduate school.

Some people in Ph.D. programs try to act like they are so superior to all other students and try to use the fact that they are a Ph.D. student or Ph.D. candidate as the simple justification for why they are so accomplished. What they are failing to realize is they cannot simply rely on their Ph.D. student status or Ph.D. candidate status to secure them a job. You actually have to have authentic accomplishments while you are in graduate school before employers will really value what you have been able to accomplish. Just obtaining a Ph.D. is not enough. In down economy like the one we are experiencing, just having your Ph.D. is not going to be enough—employers are going to need to see that there is real value attached to the person who has this degree.

I contend that a person who does not obtain a job after obtaining his or her Ph.D. has to be someone who really did not deserve the degree in the first place or who has not done all that he or she can before he or she graduated to make himself or herself an attractive candidate. Don’t be sitting back while you are currently in a Ph.D. program thinking that you are simply the best thing since sliced bread and not doing the work that is necessary to obtain a job after you graduate. You should also be strongly encouraging the faculty members in your department, especially your dissertation director and dissertation committee members, to do all that they can to help you to secure a position. Do not allow them to simply give you empty rhetoric about what they are doing for you. Encourage them to give you genuine and meaningful opportunities while you are in your Ph.D. program that will empower you to be attractive to employers before and after you graduate.

Right now, I have to place the dominant blame on those who are graduating with a Ph.D. and are not able to get a job. At the end of the day, you can come up with all of the excuses you want to, but the dominant blame for your situation you have to place on yourself. I guess being called “Doctor” is not as satisfying as you thought it would be after all, huh?

Finally, don’t try to make what you are currently doing while you have no job seem to be more than it is. You have to remember your harsh social reality—you have a Ph.D. and no job.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison