So for those of you that don’t know about my career, lemme just fill you in. I am in a position of being the one expert in my field within the firm I work for. Now, please be aware that, even as I type this, I feel like I need to apologise for sounding so self promoting. I am conflicted between being humble about my achievements, whilst on the other hand wanting to tell anyone I see that I have made a successful career all by myself and aren’t I just fucking amazing.
Lets travel back to 2014. I was at the same firm, albeit in a different position I’m in now. I was ever so slightly senior and was gaining respect amongst my peers. But the job wasn’t enough. I loved certain aspects of it whilst also loathing about half. I had applied for a job elsewhere in a similar field and was quite excited about the prospect until they told me the salary. On a side note, it is real dicklike to leave informing people of the salary until the interview. Especially when I had to jump through hoops to get the interview in the first place. So the salary was pathetic. It was like half of what I was on at the time, and it involved commuting. So nope.
Then, I went for a job that was going to focus on the one half of my job I loved. I would be solely focusing on this and was so excited. I informally accepted the job and handed in my notice. And then, it all went mental.
I got a brief email from a senior bod telling me just “don’t sign anything yet, we are working on it”. Eeeeep. Then I was flooded with phonecalls from various well respected Partners asking me to stay. I didn’t know what to say to this. I had no idea these people even knew I existed tbh. I then had a phonecall and a sit down with the owner of the firm and was offered a position to stay, concentrating on the one area I had come to be known for.
So that’s my little story. If this sounds like something you want, then please read on for my tips:
- Probably the most important one – know your job inside out. There is no point in recommending changes in procedure if it doesn’t work. If you keep doing this, you’ll become labelled as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
- Be competitive. Now I’m not saying to stab people in the back, but set yourself goals to beat people. Set mental targets to be better than them. Work harder than them and produce more work than them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little competitiveness.
- Set out to impress. If someone senior asks you to do something, do it better than they ask. Think of extra information they might also want, but don’t know they want. Always produce it quicker than they ask and always give them a realistic idea of how long it will take you. I like to send little emails just to say “you will have this today” or “is first thing tomorrow OK?”. No-one likes to chase or be chased for a task. So save yourself the stress from the offset.
- Forethought. Think in advance. Think down the line. Each team is a cog in an ever turning wheel. Some people are content to only do their bit and move on. If you can see a problem in the process, speak up! Or if you can see another team has missed something, tell them. Spot a glaring mistake? Point it out. You’ll look super helpful and also knowledgable that you noticed the flaw in the first place.
- Look to improve. Never just sit back and accept this is the way things are. Find ways to speed up processes. Look at how you can improve accuracy. Offer to take on new tasks.
- Become known for something. I quickly became known as good with tech. People would ask for my help. Word spreads and you become respected for this.
- Remove the sentence “that’s not my job” from your vocabulary. When a Senior Partner is asking for something, they’ve come to you for help. Chances are, someone has told them to call you for help. Obviously if they’re asking for quantum physics help then you gotta speak up, but apart from that, try to help in anyway you can. Even if you have to go to another department, keep them in the loop and ask them to come back to you if the other team don’t help.
- Put in the hours. You might think that this goes unnoticed, but that’s not true. I’m always checking emails from home and and my own phone. If someone wants something done short notice, stay to get it done.
- Look into new systems and tech. Now this is my jam. I love systems and tech and I am always looking at what is out there to help me out. If there isn’t something out there, create your own system in your mind. Jot down ideas and contact IT about making it happen. You know your field and IT know the tech. If you can prove that creating a new system will work, IT will believe in you. Often, IT don’t know diddley squat about your job and rely on you to inform them if something’s not quite right.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion or pay increase. Obviously within reason. Don’t go asking for a pay increase everyday, but learn to be comfortable asking. Be prepared with reasons why you deserve one. Be confident in your proposal and your line manager will realise you deserve one too. You need to be at ease blowing your own trumpet.
- Prioritise. One thing I do, is have alerts on my emails from certain senior colleagues. I deal with these first. Always.
- Be confident in your role. You need to relay the image that you know what you’re doing. You can’t do this if suddenly someone asks for information and it take you a week to provide it. Again this harks back to point 1, but you also need to portray confidence. If someone asks you for information, if you’re able to provide this straight away, you then give the image you know what you’re doing.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss counter offers. I’ve seen people hand in their notice expecting a counter offer that hasn’t happened, so this won’t happen to everybody. But if you are lucky enough to be in this position, you need to find that sassy confident woman inside of you to speak up for what you want, be it from your current employer or future one. They want you, so don’t be afraid to have requests.
So that’s it. I hope you found this helpful. At the end of the day, you need to be confident and happy in your job. Whilst the above is helpful whilst in your current job, you must also know when it is time to move on.