Personal Finance

Three ways to stay ahead of the pack at workplace


So you are in a job you do not particularly like but you are hanging in there because you need to pay the bills. I regret to tell you this but it shows in every move you make or fail to make however well you might be hiding that fact. You do not feel challenged or simply refuse to rise to the challenge because the pay isn’t worth it so you decide to only work to the extent that they pay you. You give the bare minimum and dishonestly take home a salary you do not deserve at the end of the month.

You have grown beyond the job or the job has grown beyond your capabilities. Either way, your career has stagnated and you are utterly miserable.

Your stagnation simply means that you are not doing anything beyond what your job description spells out or beyond the number of zeroes on your pay figure.

Stagnation is frustrating because human beings are inherently built for continued progress. By sitting around sulkily doing your bare minimum, you are effectively creating a vacuum in your position for a more energetic and engaged professional

There is probably nothing wrong with your job but you are the wrong person for it at this time. Your employer may hardly notice your absence if you leave. Look, there are three ways in which you assure yourself continued growth in any position that you hold.

First, there has to be a need for what you do. There must exist a vacuum that your skill-set and professional drive fit snuggly into. Once that is established, you must have the ability to provide the service.

Most importantly is your ability to provide this service in such a way that no one else can rival your excellence at it.

You must become an irreplaceable gem. There must be great difficulty in replacing you because you maintain very high standards of productivity.

If this is not the case with you, you will soon find yourself a casualty of an intelligent leader’s sound decision — to axe you. It is not easy or fun but intelligent leaders have an inner knowing of exactly how to lead effectively. Authentic leaders know that there are those that are unwilling to do more than they are paid for and will rarely be challenged enough to remain engaged. If we are not for whatever reason willing to do more than we are paid for, we will never be paid for more than we are doing. We all want to be paid more. The question is: do we actually do more or do we only do more when the appraisal period is around the corner?

Firing people is as important as hiring them. This is true both for the organisation and the hired or fired talent. Intelligent leaders will simply not keep dead weight.

They understand that entertaining dead weight is equivalent to defrauding the organisation.

To fire somebody even when it is necessary seems very unfeeling, unsympathetic and heartless.

On the other hand, not decisively dealing with such employees encourages others to follow suit, creating a culture of poor performance.

A leader’s priority is not in his or her populist actions. It is in how result-oriented one is.

A leader is usually the person with a thick skin to take difficult decisions. One is very clear about what may not be obvious to others. If the end result of an action or inaction will not positively contribute to the organisation’s objectives, one’s vision and legacy, it has got to be changed. That is all there is to it.

I know from personal experience that looking down the barrel of an employer’s firing gun is not the most exciting experience one might have but it is one of the best learning experiences there is.

It is learning by emotional impact — not usually pleasant but guaranteed to be very effective. It completely shifts one’s mind to immediately decipher the difference between just holding down a job to being engaged in a career.

We can all work but that’s not enough. We must be providing valuable service that someone else finds useful enough to pay their hard-earned money for.

No one in their right mind is willing to throw away good money by giving it to bored employees for sitting around sipping coffee all day while oscillating from surfing the net on Facebook, playing solitaire, chatting on WhatsApp and perfunctorily checking their emails every one once in a while.

So dear bored soul-killing time waiting for a salary you have not earned, you are getting replaced.