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succeeding at work - any tips?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Axtman, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    Well I have been in the working world for about 26 years now. I have never really been that successful and am currently unemployed. I thought I did all the right things. got a college degree, got licenses, certifications, etc., worked hard and gain a lot of knowledge. What part am I missing? What am I doing wrong? At 50 I should be at the peak of my career. Instead I am in the unemployment line.....and have been there a few times in my life. I am just glad that I don't have a family or wife to support.

    Thanks guys!
  2. With out knowing all the details, I can't say to much. How ever I will say that when I got tired or people not hiring me, I started my own business. There are a lot of ways to make money while you search for your calling.
  3. Uncle K

    Uncle K The bass player doesn't get a sandwich Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2011
    Erie, PA
    Kiss more a$$ <not sarcasm> (sadly)
  4. Indiana Mike

    Indiana Mike

    Nov 18, 2005
    Be 15 min early ,not 3 min late.

    Show interest in other people instead of trying to make people interested in you or hoping they notice you.

    When asked how your doing always say f'in great ,never better!!!! Not really but leave the gloom and doom home. I always say I'm doing great even if I'm not....

    You have to make positive connections ,not necessarily ass kissing....

    A lot of times that pays off more than un-noticed ability or hard work. It makes your ability and hard work noticed

    I'm not saying that is or isn't you....just what I've done and its kept me with a huge customer base and requests by name for my work and ability
  5. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    What line of work?

    In lines of work where you might know your job better than your boss just following orders might not be the way to go. I also question the value of certifications for many lines of work. Possibly you come over as being too passive and playing too safe?

    May I ask whether you got to be unemployed as a result of personally losing your job or as part of a larger downsizing or outsourcing?
  6. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I saw a study that said the most diligent workers are often overlooked for promotions in favor of those who spend more time in social interaction around the workplace. Something about not making a memorable impression. In my experience this is pretty much on the money.
  7. ^^^ I would agree. Not only do you have to be the Second Coming, you've gotta remind your boss about it.

  8. do only the bare minimum expected and suck up to any and all bosses. if you are productive they aren't going to move you out of that position you're productive in.
  9. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Kissing ass may get you moved up, but if you get promoted for the sucking up you do and not your knowledge or skill, you will probably be hung out to dry. I've seen alot of no nothings suck up their way to a supervisor position, only to be fired because of a lack of job performance.

    I have nevet had an office job, so my experience may be way of from the norm.
  10. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    I had been thru the unemployment line a number of times.
    One key factor to getting/staying employed was NETWORKING.
    I had lost a lot of contacts thru layoffs.
    Last interview I had they walked me around the building & suddenly
    I hear my name called out by 4 different people. They were all ex coworkers I had lost track of. Got the job.
    If you got laid off with i.e.6 other workers then follow up on all of them. They may be working in 6 different places and that is a big NETWORK right there.
    Best of luck, I know it's very depressing to be in your shoes.
  11. FronTowardEnemy

    FronTowardEnemy It is better to go unnoticed, than to suck

    Sep 19, 2006
    Plainfield Illinois
    From my experience (23 years, no degree) I have found that avoiding drama and hard work and dedication takes you a long way. Never say "I will try", if you can't answer someone's question tell them you will find out, dont ever lie. Always treat people with dignity and respect. Also whatever field you are in keep your skills up above par. Integrity is of the most importance. I work for a major world wide company that axes people without question, however I never worry about my job because I am confident, clean, neat, and respectful. Hope some of this helps and good luck!
  12. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Read up on the Peter Principle. (I'm not saying it applies to you, but it probably applies to many around you.)

    Move away from where you are. If you have no family, it's a golden opportunity to find out the geographic location that uses your skill set the most. Why stay where you are when you have been let go several times? Go to where your skills are in short supply. You'll be a rock star in no time. You may even find a place that has both a need for your skills AND a lower cost of living. Win win!
  13. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    big +1
  14. I agree. It sucks but it's true. I think this has been holding me back in my career. I have a great education, lots of experience and knowledge, but I'm still at a pretty low level position, and I think it's largely because I'm too quiet and introverted. I don't promote myself enough or schmooze enough.

    Should we start a support group to keep each other accountable for working on this? I'm serious.

    edit - I also recommend not posting on TB from work
  15. AnchorHoy


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Jersey

    After 30+ years, I've also noticed that the Peter Principle is no joke. Can't even count the number of verifiably incompetent bosses I've had that kept their jobs (or even advanced higher) solely because of their skill at schmoozing with people higher up the chain of command
  16. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    And don't mention 'The Peter Principle' to your boss, like I did. He immediately asked if I was referring to him and that says one of two things- he knew I was, or he knew HE was in that position. Personally, I think it was both but I was really talking about someone else at the time. He had done the same job I was doing but A) had been with the company when it was a one or two-store operation and B) when they decided to create his position, part of the reason he got it is that the VP of Service (repairs and installations) is married to my old boss' sister. If they split up, I suspect Tom will be out on his butt in nano-seconds because that part of the company is doing very poorly now.

    BTW- I don't think I was there more than a month after I mentioned this- his reason for "letting me go" was that my department wasn't meeting fiscal expectations and he didn't see it improving anytime soon. That was only partially true and IMO, it would have been temporary because I had two guys working for me who really liked working there but they couldn't make enough money- I asked him if there was some way to pay them a bit more by doing additional things (the pay levels were very strict and they were close to maxing out in their positions) and he just said "No", which I relayed to them. They went to Cellular One and I lost two great workers/guys. However, those who remained stepped up and we did everything at the same level, with no dropoff in shop performance. The next three managers didn't add anything and #2 and #3 stole a lot from the place, in addition to their dropoff in fiscal performance (I got this info from friends of mine who were still there at the time).

    I was also a month away from my 40th Birthday, which matters WRT human resources hiring/firing and age discrimination.

    I had a neighbor who used to say "It doesn't matter" when I would ask how work was going. We talked about this for a while and when I asked about her philosophy re: work, she said "Find a job nobody wants and do it so well they have no choice but to pay you a lot of money for doing it".
  17. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    Probably the major reason I'm stuck where I am.
  18. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sorry to hear about your situation. I have a cousin in the same boat - about 50, worked for the same store all his adult life, now he's laid off and getting odd jobs a week or two at a time here and there.

    A couple of thoughts;
    1) yes to networking, as others have said.

    2) In the current environment, ALWAYS be upgrading your skills, learning new techniques and technologies, and aiming for your next job. The days are gone when you get hired by a company and just stay there the rest of your life. Plan on moving, and make the move - upwards - before the company boots you. Never more than 5-10 years per position, maximum.

    My wife just became director of her library and she's seeing this from the other side. She has people working there for 15 or 20 years, accumulating raises over the years. They are now in a position where they are making more than their own bosses, but not carrying any more responsibility or being more productive than new hires making half what they do. Most of them are technophobes who resist learning new technology and therefore push a lot of the work onto those less-paid people because they don't know how to do it themselves and refuse to do the training. So when tough budget decisions have to be made, guess whose jobs are first in line to get cut? It's not agism, it's simply who is delivering productivity in keeping with what they're being paid.
  19. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA

  20. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I have done a lot of thinking lately and conclusion that it does not matter where you went to school*, what degree you earned, what your grades where, how many certifications/awards you have, what your skills are, how good and dedicated a worker you are, etc. What matters most is your relationship with your boss.

    I have known a lot of situations where the boss promotes and keeps his buddies....but then lets go some hardworking, dedicated, skilled people who don't happen to swim in the same social circles.

    Introverts are at a definite disadvantage in this regard.

    * It does matter where you went to school if you were in the same class as the boss and are friends.