Notes from the FIeld

Here in the land of fabulous company perks; 24/7 food service, gym access, laundry delivery, dog friendly offices… we thought it was worth looking at another scene on the work environment landscape.

Recently, we spent the day with a local Bay area business owner. It’s a thriving, creative, intense place with lots of deadlines, seasonal swings and plenty of detailed work to accomplish with little margin for error. We got to talking about his experience with younger employees, and while he might fall into the “old school” business owner, we thought his observations were worth passing along:

  • Don’t be blasé about timeliness. For some bosses, an 8:00 am start time actually means 8am sharp. While others might be more flexible, it’s important to have a handle on company culture and expectations before playing fast and loose with the clock. Pay attention to the bosses and their schedules. When you can, be there and available when they are and when the work requires it.
  • Work/life balance is important, but if you’re really interested in distinguishing yourself at work, sometimes putting in extra hours is the most effective path to recognition and advancement. We don’t want you living at work, but when the opportunity arises, stay late for that important meeting, or attend that after hours client dinner. Even if it means putting aside personal plans, it might be what tips the scales in your favor.
  • When you’re putting in the time and effort to go that extra mile, make sure it’s not at the expense of completing your assigned work in a timely fashion. Initiative, innovation and constant improvement are all impressive attributes, but there are times when the work on your desk just needs to get done.

Of course these are all grey areas, and ambiguity in the workplace is something you’ll have to get used to. Exercise your best judgment and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. These minor issues can lead to misunderstandings, and how you combat or resolve them can go a long way to smooth your path to success.

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