2/10/09

Movin' on Up: Equipped for the Ride

Movin' on Up: Equipped for the Ride
Part 1 of a 4 Part Series on Rising within During a Slow Economy
Audience: Early to Mid-Level Career

Yes, times are tough right now throughout the world. If you have a job, it's probably best to keep it. I'm not going to discourage anyone to abandon dreams, just pray and seek wise counsel. There's far too many experienced, educated people without full-time work, myself included.

We've all heard the cliche, "Climbing the corporate ladder." Many times, it's not even that difficult, possibly more akin to riding up an escalator. It can be paced, methodical. Employers spend far less grooming a current employee for advancement than recruiting and training an outsider.

Do you realize how little it takes to be better? It amazes me how little people expect. Don't just go in and get a paycheck, actually add revenue.

First, we'll start to build a "toolbox," of basic essentials.

THE IN-HOUSE EXPERT

You need to know what you're doing, and if you don't ask. There's an expert in your own office. Take someone higher up the rungs out to lunch (hence, you're paying) and ask key questions. This is not a mentor (will discuss later), but at this meeting you are essentially behaving like a "mentee."

How to prepare:

  • Have a rough unspoken agenda for the lunch
  • Be eager and excited, but prepared. Time is valuable, so show you're good at managing it in this meeting.
  • Dress professionally (even if it's a business casual environment, this is the time to turn it up a notch)
  • Make sure grooming is classic, tasteful (ladies, be modest, no loud nail polish, overbearing perfumes, gaudy jewelry, or sloppy updos, even if it's on trend, it's not appropriate; guys, be clean, clothes pressed, nails trimmed)
What to Avoid:
  • A loud bar setting; you won't get anything accomplished due to the noise
  • Do not order the jumbo platter, anything dripping in grease, broccoli or spinach, or a waif salad (not the time to chow down, have food stuck in your teeth or look like you have eating issues)
  • Talk about overly personal manners
  • Gossip about colleagues (even if your superior begins; this spells disaster)
  • Order a drink or talk about drinking ("I can't wait 'til happy hour," "This has been a long week, I'll need a drink later.")
  • Tell offensive jokes (If you're unsure, try the mom test)
You've got roughly an hour to two, depending on your workplace. If you work it right, this person will be a new advocate, an important connection.

In addition to being an avid traveler, I have five years of professional service industry marketing and communication experience within large firms across the U.S. Freelance opportunities include handling RFPs/RFIs/SOQs, developing/revising marketing plans, SWOT analysis, presentation design, branding and graphics.


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