Work your butt off
It might sound obvious (okay, it is obvious), but nothing—nothing—takes the place of good old-fashioned hard work. If finishing a project or meeting a goal means going into the office early or coming home late, consider it a worthwhile sacrifice (yes, even if your coworker is clocking out at 4:59). This doesn’t mean you should sleep at the office, but putting in extra man-hours is a great way to get yourself noticed. Trust me, life gets easier at the top.
Stay away from office gossip
There’s this saying that small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events and great minds discuss ideas. Be an ideas person—your coworkers aren’t going to give you the cold shoulder for staying clear of all the cubicle drama (in fact, you’ll probably be more liked and respected).
Dress for the job you want, not the one you have
In a lot of ways, you are what you pretend to be (and what others perceive you to be). So if you have dreams of becoming a CEO, wear a suit. Yeah, I know, businesses these days are way more casual than that. But wearing jeans to the office isn’t exactly going to scream “management material.”
Leave your personal business at home
Your boss wants to know you’re focused on your work, not the meaningless fight you had with your significant other that morning (a disagreement that, let’s be honest, will have blown over by dinnertime anyway). This means no taking phone breaks to hash things out or dishing about your drama to your coworkers.
Do the tasks nobody else wants to do
Almost every manager and CEO was in your position at some point (really), so show that you’re willing to put in the work that they once did—even if it includes a project that is less than ideal. (Sure, I’d love to reorganize that 30-page spread- sheet!) Just be careful not to take on too many extra projects to impress your boss; you don’t want to spread yourself so thin that your work performance suffers.
Snag a mentor
If you're lucky enough to have the attention of an expert in you field, stay in touch (this means putting in some in-person time on his or her schedule). If you don't already know anyone who has the job you want some day, send an email to someone who does, asking to meet for a quick informational interivew. Offer to take him out ot lunch, and be sure to do your homework on him so you're armed with plenty of questions (just don't go overboard and make it an interrogation).
In this economy, employees are being asked to relocate or take pay cuts. Clearly, neither of these are desirable options, but if you can survive the storm, so to speak, you might move up the ladder faster when everything blows over.
Don’t tweet about your morning meeting
In fact, stay off of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook altogether at the office, and always be careful what you post during off-hours. Your boss really won’t be impressed that you’re “SO GLAD IT’S FINALLY FRIDAY!!!” when she’s still waiting for you to finish a report.
Toot your own horn
If you’re called in for a review, come prepared with an organized portfolio of everything you’ve contributed to the company. If your boss is okay with it, you might even arrange to send her a biweekly email outlining where you are in terms of reaching your goals. Listen, if you don’t promote yourself, nobody will. So don’t be shy about showing off all the hard work you’ve done, and definitely don’t hold back when it comes to sharing your ideas.
Don’t be a hero by not taking days off
If you really do have a nasty cold or fever, your boss (and anyone who works around you) would much rather you stay home and get better than drag yourself—and your germs—into the office. That’s why sick days are built into your company’s schedule. Know what else is? Vacation days. You’ll be a better worker if you take some time to recharge your battery.
WANT MORE OF BILL’S BUSINESS ADVICE? Snag a copy of his book, You’re HIRED: How to Succeed in Business and Life ($23, Amazon).
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