This summer I have been privileged to work with groups of young people with disabilities who are looking for summer employment. I have met so many nice young adults who are motivated not only to find employment, but they are also looking forward to college and future careers. I am reminded that for a variety of reasons not everyone who goes to work stays employed for the long term. So I wanted to share some scenarios with you and ideas that may be helpful for being successful at work.
#1 – be prepared! I’ve had situations at work, and maybe you have too – employees who show up to work unprepared for all eventualities. I facilitate soft skills classes. We can have anywhere from one to 100 depending on the group and the location. I come prepared with extra materials each and every time, just in case the class ends up having extra participants. So what would you do: I am headed for a class that I’ve been told will be for 4-6 people? How many packets should I take with me? The obvious answer might be 6. The correct answer is 10! I need to be prepared for individuals showing up at the last minute each and every time. If I’m told there will only be 4 in attendance, I still bring extra packets, just in case. It would be terribly embarrassing to show up and not have enough materials for the participants who showed up at the last minute. I have seen this happen, and it means having to run around making extra copies – if you can find a copy machine!
#2 – show up early! I’ve seen employees come to work exactly at the time the work was to start. However, there was no consideration for the amount of time it takes to prepare, get coffee, or visit the restroom, etc. So what would you do if the employer sets up a meeting for 9:00 a.m.? What time should you show up? Some might say 9:00 is an okay time to show up for a meeting because that is what time the meeting is scheduled for. I think it would be appropriate to show up before 9 a.m. Depending on what is going on and if there is a need to prepare something for the meeting, it may be better to allow a 15-minute window. There is a saying in the employment world: “If you show up on time you are late!” In my world, I may have to set up my laptop, projector, speakers, get the PowerPoint, videos, and visuals up and functioning, put out materials, have a sign in sheet ready, table tent cards, set out packets and materials, possibly rearrange tables and chairs – this can take me 30 minutes to an hour before an event. If I show up after 8:30 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. event, I will probably end up not starting on time. In other words, I would be late!
#3 – find joy! Okay, so not all jobs are fun, not all jobs are your dream job, not all jobs promote as quickly as you would like, not all supervisors are easy to work for, not all jobs are challenging enough – we could come up with a large list of things that don’t give us joy on the job. But did you know that for the most part employers want their employees to like their jobs, like coming to work, and like providing good customer service? It is easy to come to work and be negative, complaining about all that is wrong, and bringing everyone else down. But I can choose joy on the job, I can decide to be grateful for the things that do work, and I can try to be part of the solution in creating change. We don’t always get to be part of the solution, but I sure don’t want to be part of the problem within an organization. “Whistle while you work” is not just a song, but perhaps a way we should focus ourselves to be the best we can possibly be on the job.
I’ve only touched on a few things that can help you be successful on the job, which are: always be prepared for anything and go above and beyond whenever possible; show up not just on time but early for all meetings and events; and look for ways to find joy on the job and be grateful for the good in your employment. If you’d like more information about Workforce Solutions, or need a job or are interested in a better job, please go to http://www.wrksolutions.com for office locations and great tips for your career.
Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with adult education and literacy, and employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, and over 8 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.