Attitude, Aptitude and Attendance. By understanding the importance and makeup of these three character traits you will save yourself hundreds of dollars in “How to manager your Boss” books and countless hours of reading time as well.
Attitude – This may seem pretty self explanatory, and most people at least try to have a positive attitude, but even on your good days it can be a challenge, especially with a micro manager. Remember, people can tell what you are thinking, even when you don’t say it. Body language, non verbal communication says a lot more than we think and an adept person will always be able to know what is on your mind. Life has many challenges and work is definitely part of it, especially the way the economy has evolved these past few years. When my friends that are doing well start complaining about work, I tell them two things. One, you are not “playing “ in a band, that’s why they call your job “work”. The other is to put things in contrast. Just 60 years ago we’d be working in a steel mill, 100 years ago we’d be in a sweat shop, putting in 72 hour work weeks. 200 years ago, we’d be hunting for food and dying from the flu, or polio. So for those that have steady job, things are pretty good.
Aptitude – It never hurts to be one of the sharper tools in the box. Hopefully, this was one of the reasons why you have your job in the first place. Aptitude does not end at your ability to learn quickly or that fact that you have a high IQ. It also applies to curiosity, and motivation to learn other aspects of the organization in which you work. Many hiring managers look for people that are not just experts in their realm of responsibilities at work. They look for people that have additional knowledge of how the company’s products work at a System or Macro level. A person that demonstrates this during an interview shows that they have a desire to learn, have that “curios, inquisitive” streak that is synonymous with the all important trait of “takes initiative”. Be an active learner, not a passive learner- waiting to be told what to do next.
Attendance – No matter how good your are, it’s still important to be in the office for those interested in Lead/Manager/Director level opportunities. This may come as a shock to those developing software from their spare bedroom, but there’s nothing that can replace human interaction (even in the world of Skype). With rush hour traffic, it’s acceptable for many people to work somewhat off hours, either coming in later than the proverbial 8:30AM or coming in earlier to beat the traffic. I know many people that start their day as early as 5:30AM (NOT ME) or 9:30AM. However, pushing your start time to 10AM, is the kiss of death. Managers and Directors have told me stories about times when they’ve had to send out memo’s stating that if someone was to be in at 10am or later, they would need to be contacted. They’ve also ridiculed employees for playing the hero for being in the office at 6:30PM. “Heck they didn’t get to work until 10:30, what’s the big deal?”, they’d say.
Oh, about the 10AM Kiss of Death start time? My good friend that worked those hours just got laid off, despite his aptitude.