What Your Boss Is Reading: Are You One of These Employees?
You’re smart. You’re savvy. You’re a Career Girl looking to climb the ladder, shatter the glass ceiling with the Hammer of Womanhood, and settle yourself into the Holy Ergonomic Chair that comes with having a coveted spot on the Board of Directors. If you can dream it, you can do it! (And the ergonomics of that chair that I’ve dreamt about are sweet and heavenly.) You’re spearheading the projects, not getting wasted at the office holiday party, reading books on negotiation, reading CGN faithfully, and bringing home the bacon for both you and your employer. But you’re missing something.
“What could I possibly be missing?” you say. “I’m doing everything I know how to do, what with my implementing the new training program, writing the manual on being an awesome employee, and volunteering at a soup kitchen like you told me to! WHAT ELSE COULD I POSSIBLY DO, DANIELLE?!“
Here’s an extra secret: if you’re not reading the kinds of things your boss is reading, you’re missing a serious gold mine.
You are a devoted reader of Career Girl Network, which teaches you how to climb the corporate ladder, nail the interview, write the amazing resume, and make your brand vital for those around you to know. What is your boss reading, though? They are probably reading CGN, too (since obviously everyone should,) but they’re also reading things about how to keep their business afloat, innovative interviewing questions to ask, what new entrepreneurial move to make, and which types of employees they should hire…and fire.
Let’s start with an easy one from Janine Popick over at Inc. Magazine: “3 Types of Poison Employees.” Could you possibly fit into any of these categories?
- “Wendy the Whiner”
Wendy is just waiting to find your company’s mistakes (and we all have them), and will complain about them to anyone who will listen. Hopefully Wendy’s peers will see through the whining, but it can really wear on anyone’s nerves. Wendy will complain that the free soda you give out isn’t all natural or the free pizza didn’t arrive on time. She’ll try to find flaws in you and surface them. She’ll complain that her seat isn’t ergonomic enough and her basic mission is to get people around her to be as miserable as she is.
This week, keep a close watch on the kinds of language you use at work. Do you notice yourself making complaints…er, “suggestions“…on how to improve each little thing? Have you heard yourself lament coming into work early every day when it seems like your boss is always late? ARE YOU COMPARING YOUR OWN ERGONOMIC CHAIR TO THE HOLY ONE AT THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS TABLE?! Notice these quirks and stop your whining–save concerns for things that are really important, like potential discrimination problems, convincing your boss to give you that much-deserved raise or promotion, or making sure that other toxic employees aren’t bringing down the office. Don’t put your boss in a position to try and figure out if your whining is worth dealing with based on how well you work.
- “Gary the Gossip”
Gary is your most paranoid employee. He’s constantly on the lookout for any information he can spread, either good or bad. “I heard we’re getting sold.” “Did you see who [insert your name here] was meeting with? I think they’re getting let go!” “Did you see [insert name] was hanging out with [insert name] at the company party? I hear they’re [insert scandalous thing here].”
Remember how, in high school, that snobby girl spread a rumor that you made out with that totally gross boy at the dance, and you struggled with your dating reputation until you graduated? Don’t be that girl. Rumors are never a good thing–even if they are positive rumors, they may end up not being true, which disappoints people and can often leave bitter and resentful feelings in the wake. If they’re negative, they can end up hurting others, destroying reputations, costing jobs, and sometimes, the downfall of the company. If you hear a rumor, take it straight to someone who will know what’s true and what’s not. Then, tell others spreading the rumor that they need to find the source and stop talking about things they’re unsure of. Explain that no one wins when rumors are spread. You might just become your boss’s new hero.
- “Harry the Hider”
Harry is the best! He’s the person who sets the bar low over in the corner and over-achieves every single time. You’re continually surprised when Harry does anything good even if, in reality, it’s so below the output compared to his peers.
You could never be Harry, right? After all, you are the overachiever extraordinaire looking for that Board of Directors seat! But do you pass up on projects that you’re concerned you might not be 100% successful on…just so that your reputation can stay in tact? Do you only take on what you know you can blow out of the water? If so, you might have a little Hiding Harry in your personality. Failure is a vital part of success–use your boss as one of your resources to kick that crazy project’s ass. Don’t limit yourself to things you know you can accomplish, or you’ll never see the true extent of your capabilities.
After you’ve resolved to not ever be any of these types of employees, go back and read the whole article. Check out the advice that Popick is giving your boss on how to handle these folks…not always pretty to see others talking about you, is it? Do yourself a favor this year and resolve each week to read something that your boss is already reading. Getting a peek into his or her mind means doing yourself worlds of favors in the long and sometimes arduous climb up the corporate mountain.