Do you also wait for you mom, your maid, your professor or someone to do things for you? Well, newsflash, at work, no one will do “things” for you. And neither will there be conversation about it. You’ll have to “figure it out” yourself and do it too!
I wish someone had warned me that when you get your first job, no one is going to tell you what to do. (Well, OK, companies have specific training sessions for you to attend, or assign you to a specific rotation for a year). But if you’re like I was as a fresher, armed with a degree and no relevant experience in the industry you’re about to enter, then the following words are for you.
There are no midterms or finals anymore. There’s no syllabus that outlines when papers are due or suggests additional reading. At work—whether you’re starting a new job, got promoted, or making a career change—you have to figure out how you can contribute. Being proactive is key.
Here is how you can get more proactive at work.
- Keep looking for problems to solve
Every organization has problems they’re looking to solve. It can be consumer problems, business problems, problems in timelines. You will be more skilled at spotting problems as you start working. Start by reading the news, opinions, and articles about your area of specialization. Keep a keen eye on the trends outside India to understand the problems there and how they’re solving it.
- Try to take on different roles
Don’t assume they already hired someone else for that new project or task that interests you. You might be skilled at a job outside your assigned work. If you ask for additional responsibility there’s a good chance you will receive it.
- Ask for feedback and act on it
Not only will you improve yourself, but your managers and coworkers will have a new standard to benchmark your growth and progress against.
- Make an effort to listen to discussions around you
Do this even if they are irrelevant to your work. This is a great way to learn about new opportunities you could capitalize on.
- Foresee potential obstacles and bring them up to your teammates
This will help you and your team prevent problems, and it will help you build your team work skills.
- Don’t be shy to ask questions
If you want to take initiative, the only option is to ask questions and understand how things work. It’s more effective to learn from others who have been in your shoes before than to try and do it alone.
- Don’t take comments and suggestions personally
Your manager or co-worker isn’t questioning your capabilities; they’re providing you with constructive feedback that help you reach your potential. Learn to love feedback as it’s the key to improving.
- Have a positive outlook
Complaining is far from constructive if you believe a process or method needs to change. With a positive attitude you can work towards change, and make an impact.
- Take initiative
This may make you feel uncomfortable since you’ll often be forced to step outside your comfort zone, but, why not get comfortable with being uncomfortable and be one step ahead? Challenge yourself to take initiative and be proactive today.
- Rather than simply occupying space in your organisation, try to become somebody who goes out of his way to help the team and organisation meet it's goals.
- Bring your best game to office everyday - interact with people, take a keen interest in your work and enthusiastically work on the feedback that you receive.
- Always be curious. Ask questions at work, keep abreast about new developments in your industry, take online courses to gain certification, etc.
In the People Skills Primer, you'll get a crash course on how you can take charge of your internship or your new job. Here's the different aspects you'll get to know more about in the coming chapters.