I’m at a point in my career where I have lost the strong desire to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. I enjoy my job, have a decent income, don’t travel much, and am not too stressed at work. I have come to the point in my career where I have many tasks on autopilot and am able to shut my computer off at 5pm without having the need to open it back up until the next morning.
It wasn’t always this way. For the past 10 years, I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am today. Before we had children, I often worked late, worked at home, and traveled a lot. It paid off with promotions over the years, but with 2 young children at home, it is not worth it for me to pursue promotions actively. That’s not to say I will not accept a promotion if asked, but I am not actively pursuing one.
However, in an industry (pharmaceutical) with decreasing profit margins and more regulations, layoffs are not uncommon. The most productive and value-added associate is treasured while less productive associates are let go. Having said that, it is increasingly important that I at least create the perception that I once did of working outside of normal business hours. Here are 4 ways that I do this:
- Set e-mails to go out early in the morning or after business hours. Since our company switched over to Microsoft Outlook, there is an option to send any one e-mail at a pre-defined time. Often times, I respond or create non-urgent e-mails to go out after 11PM or early in the morning at 5AM. This may be perceived at being deceitful so you will have to examine your heart before doing something like this. I don’t have an issue with it. Microsoft built it as a feature in Outlook for a reason…and I’m up at 5AM anyway.
- Stay late or come in early every once in a while. I do this about once every 2 weeks and whenever I do this, I often make myself more visible during this time by scheduling meetings or walking around the floor to chat with other colleagues who often stay late or come in early.
- Actually responding to e-mails at odd hours. If you’re surfing the net late at night, check your e-mail once before logging off for the night and answer 1-2 e-mails very quickly. It won’t take much effort, but the perception goes a long way.
- Prepare a laundry list of completed, ongoing, and planned activities during your one-on-one meeting with your manager. Properly preparing for a routine one-on-one meeting with your manager can be your most important meeting because it gives the most visibility to your work to the person who can promote you.
When push comes to shove, I have to protect myself and do whatever I can do to stand out from the rest of my colleagues. What have you done to create a positive perception of yourself at the workplace?