Blossoming With Little Sun
Written By: Nathaniel Upshaw, Jr.

During this current economic environment, it is imperative that everyone in the workforce to become dynamic employees. In this context, being dynamic is referring to being flexible and not stagnant. The days of the age old phrase “it’s not in my job description” is no longer an acceptable stance in the workforce and will leave you unemployed. Now is the time to step up at your perspective workplaces and demonstrate that you are a team player, and that you are committed to the success of the organization.

Now, some people are of the mindset “I’ve been in this job for 10, 15, or 20 years and I haven’t had to do this and that”… You’re right! But I’m sure in the last 9 months, you know of somebody that has gotten the pink slip. The sad thing is that quite a few of these people had been with these organizations for a while and had invested many years and ideas into the organization. This is not an excuse to be discouraged from continuing to give your all in the workplace. Here are some tips to assist you in blossoming.

Take on more responsibility:
This sounds much easier than it is done in practice. For some, being able to juggle your current responsibilities is taxing enough without thinking about adding more tasks to your plate. When considering expanding your duties at work you must be sure that you are currently meeting or exceeding expectations in the tasks that you have currently been assigned. Secondly, you need to consider the impact on your personal life. Lastly, you must ask yourself “Will taking on more responsibility be viewed favorably for me to advance?”. Remember, your employment should be mutually beneficial. It’s not about you going to work for a paycheck, but it’s about you fulfilling the company’s initiatives and your personal goals as well.

Learn about other areas within your organization:
Depending on the size organization in which you are employed, there may be instances where you can expand your knowledge and skill set while remaining in the same job. For instance, I was once employed at a bank. Within the bank, there were a large variety of jobs that were being done. Tasks from information technology, to finance and accounting, to community outreach and social services. Personally, my focus in undergraduate was math and computer science and I had no inclination to be in the financial sector. But by partnering with various teams and departments in the organization, I got a chance to learn more about the financial world, the role in which banks play in the community and world at large, and how I could use this information to my advantage to accelerate my career in a direction that I was enjoying.

Enroll yourself into “sticky” programs:
Most organizations have programs that were designed to mold their employees. Programs that may focus on management training or business efficiency or whatever the purpose may be. Other programs allow for employees to obtain degrees that are beneficial for the success of the business. Usually, all of these programs come with stipulations that require the recipient to remain with the organization for a set period of time (generally 2-3 years after completion). Now, let’s look at this situation from a business perspective. If you have someone that has been receiving thousands of dollars to go to school to advance themselves in the workforce, are you more likely to lay them off, or will you let someone go that seems “comfortable” in their current position?

Right… Companies tend not to terminate employment of someone that has a vested interest in the organization. They understand that the individual will be better equipped to perform the duties that are assigned to them and would remain employed to perform the tasks at least throughout the duration of the agreement. Truthfully speaking, this is not a guaranteed method to hinder your employer from terminating your position, but if you are enrolled in a program and you are laid off, you walk away with something more than you had at no cost to you. You then will be able to utilize both the experience that you obtained from that job, and the education that they paid for.

Volunteering is one of the most selfless acts that you can do. If you think of this as something you’re doing that you are not being paid for, you’re correct…. Kind of! In the corporate world, volunteering can go a long way. It’s beneficial whether you’re in a large or a small company. In a large company, you can expose yourself to other co-workers that you normally would not interact with. These people can become your allies in case you are interested in moving to another area within the organization. In a small company, it gives you the ability to be seen outside of the workplace. Managers and other team members can get a chance to see you as more than a co-worker. They are able to learn more of your passions and may be able to assist you in reaching your goals. I’m not saying sign up for every volunteer event, because whatever you do needs to be something that you have an interest in. This will make the experience for you more enjoyable and your actions more sincere.

Finally, although there is no true way to dictate our career futures, we still can plan for success. There are many roads to success and no matter what road is taken, there will be many pitfalls. These tips can be used as methods to assist you in navigating your career paths. In the end, you know what needs to be done for your own personal situation. Set your goals. Make a plan. Put it in action… Lastly… Don’t be scared to revisit and revise.

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