In August of 2009, my husband found a temporary job at SCKEDD (South Central Kansas Economic Development District). I'm not even sure what his title was but the job he was hired to do was pretty menial office work. Filing, answering phones, mailing letters, etc. At that time, he had a Bachelor's Degree and was enrolled in the fall semester at WSU to pursue his Master's Degree. That the work was beneath him (as far as education level) is an understatement. But he did the work cheerfully, always doing more than what was required of him, and he gained the respect of his boss. In December, SCKEDD offered him a permanent position. Since that time, he's been moved to the SCKEDD warehouse, promoted to office manager, financial manager, and finally Controller, a job that he will assume on June 2. I want to use my husband as an example of what an exemplary employee looks like.
First, if you want to gain the respect of the people you work for and with, you have to be respectable. This means: don't gossip, be on time for work, be at work as much as you possibly can (some people are notorious for calling in "sick" and they can't be relied upon), and don't complain about your job or other employees to anyone at your work. Keeping your mouth shut is highly underrated. If Daniel needs to vent, do you know who he vents to? Me. Not his boss, not the lady that has the office next to him, not the guy in the warehouse that he befriended. If there's a valid concern, he will discuss it with the proper person but venting comes home with him.
Second, you have to do more than just the items listed in your job description. Why? Because you have to prove that you are capable of handling more responsibilities and you're willing to take them on even when no one has asked you to do them. This is huge. While Daniel was in school for his Master's Degree and then studying for and getting his CPA license, he had his eye on the Controller position at SCKEDD. It was the highest position in his field at that company and it was what he really wanted to do. All the way along, he assumed job duties that no one else wanted to do. He volunteered to do countless tasks, knowing that it would make his job more secure and give SCKEDD a reason to promote him. Another thing that he's really good at and is continually doing is improving things. He's a tinkerer and his motto is, even if something is working well, it can always work better. He's always improving systems, trying to make them more accurate and less time-consuming.
I know that some people will think that Daniel is just "lucky" and that's why he's done so well at SCKEDD. Luck has nothing to do with it. Now, was he blessed with bosses who recognized his abilities and a company that rewards hard work? Yes. I know not all companies are like that and some amazing employees are stuck because of bad management. But in my experience, that's not the majority of cases. The attitude these days seems to be that somebody (God, the government, my employer, my parents, whoever) owes me something. Might I bust that delusional bubble and say that that's just not true. Nobody owes you anything. You have to work, and work hard, for what you want. If you show up late for work most of the time (or even sometimes! there's rarely a good excuse for being late), you're obviously not a responsible person who cares about their job so why would your boss promote you? And you complainers... do you think your whining deserves a raise? Daniel says that there are many jobs he's done himself over the last few years because he knows that if he asks someone else to do them, he'll get a bunch of whining. And this whining about having to do something that's "not my job" comes from the same people who whine about not getting a raise... imagine that. My husband works late almost every day (I don't even call it late anymore... it's now the normal time he gets home). He's worked Saturday's in the past and he'll be putting in at least a half day on Saturday for the next few months. It's what he has to do to make sure his job is done well.
A side-note: because Daniel does work a lot, when he comes home, he's home. He leaves his job at the office (except for a short time of venting if he needs it but that's definitely not a daily occurrence) and is a wonderfully attentive father and husband. I'm so grateful that our son has such a godly example to follow.