Avoid These 7 Myths And Get Ahead At Work And Business
(CHAPTER 1 of "Brag! The Art Of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It," by Peggy Klaus. This excerpt is reprinted with permission from the publisher, Time Warner Books.)
By Peggy Klaus
It ain't bragging if you done it.
Myth #1: A JOB WELL DONE SPEAKS FOR ITSELF
It's not my father's workplace anymore, or even the one many of your mothers may have entered in the 1970s or '80s. The days of job security in exchange for loyalty and hard work are long gone. For most, this isn't news. Yet many of us fail to recognize the value of self-promotion in maneuvering today's volatile and unpredictable workplace.
Given the constant changes-mergers, management shifts, downsizing-you simply must let people in the organization know who you are and what you are accomplishing. Otherwise you'll be passed over for promotions, in succession planning, or when the company is determining the best performers during layoffs.
Even if you're an ace at keeping your boss up to speed, remember, he or she might be gone tomorrow. You need to cover all your bases and stand out in the eyes of your boss' boss and that boss' boss and all the bosses right up to the big boss. Your mission is made even more challenging when you consider what the Information Age has wrought: people who are overwhelmed by the daily on-slaught of e-mails, voice mails, faxes, phone calls, and meetings upon meetings. They have little-to-no time or any real need to pay special attention to you.
Planting for the Future
As important as those on the inside of your company are for your survival, those on the outside are just as significant: recruiters, industry associates, personal friends and acquaintances, even your competitors. Even seemingly stable companies can collapse overnight. Just look at Enron and Arthur Andersen, among many others.
Good self-promoters know this: They're always planting seeds for the future. Karen, forty-two, a division head for a major global food corporation, is a good example. At an informal gathering, when asked how long she had been in the business and what she did, instead of the typical "I've worked with my company for fifteen years and run its dairy division," she responded:
Who ever thought I'd be in the food industry, especially after my mom forced me all those years to eat Cheez Whiz? [Everyone at the table erupted with laughter.] It must have been fate, but after I graduated with my MBA from Columbia, I got a call from a friend who told me about a few interesting openings. I began working for my company in 1985 in brand management, working my way up to marketing director.
Two years ago, one of the company's other divisions was really in the hole and they gave me the assignment of turning it around. I didn't really know where to start, so I began talking to people on the f loor. A lot of them had great ideas. From there, I got everyone involved and formed teams to pull in the various disciplines and put together a strategic vision. Today, I am the proud head of a dairy division that is number two in profitability worldwide.
Smart self-promoters show up prepared. They value face time with others and are always ready with stories about themselves that break through the verbal clutter. They know that positive regard from others isn't going to "just happen" on job interviews, at performance appraisals, during presentations, or at networking functions. And it's unlikely to "just happen" by marching into the CEO's office and asking for an appointment to discuss how wonderful you are. It's not going to happen unless you make it happen, and the crème-de-la-crème opportunities to self-promote are going to come your way when you least expect them.
Bragging Myths #2 and #3
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