Being a Better Employee Series: Recap

By Carlos Portocarrero

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By Damek

I had a good time sharing all my thoughts on what you can do to become a more productive, more valuable employee at your current job. It’s all advice that I discovered on my own, so I really believe in it. As a recap, here are the entries from the series:

I was going to add something on “Be More Efficient” or “Be Faster” but I didn’t want to get into a whole “this is how you become more efficient at work” type of thing. Each job is very different and I don’t think that kind of advice would apply to a broad enough spectrum of jobs the way the other posts do. But I do think it’s very important—efficiency is one thing I value above many many others. If you can do your job faster than someone else, you open up the doors to doing more, having more time to help your boss out, etc. So look around you and try to find ways of getting things done that are faster and more efficient—everyone you work with will thank you.

There was one comment on one of the posts that I wanted to highlight here:

I completely agree with your “Being A Better Employee” series. Your guidelines were taught to me years ago and have served me well in being outstanding from everyone else in a company. However, there is a downside that I hope you will address — when being the best employee a company can have doesn’t translate into financial compensation or, worst yet, your boss simply wants more and more of your diligent effort. Until you can change jobs, how do you tailor your effort?

This is one of the possible downsides of becoming a better employee. Your employer might just say “Great! Keep up the good work!” And it could end at that. I don’t think I touched on any direct link between my advice and any financial reward, but I think we all expect as much. If we’re a better employee, shouldn’t we be paid like one?

And the answer to that is a little tricky. If you think you deserve more, you must make the case for it. You have to put together an argument (think of it as going to court and “winning” your own case) and present it to your employer. If they value things like efficiency and some of the other qualities the series discusses, then you might be in line for some additional compensation. But don’t expect it.

The idea behind the series was to simply become a better employee. Why? Because times are tough and if you want to hold on to your job you better show that you’re more valuable than the person sitting next to you. If you do that consistently at every job you do, then hopefully monetary compensation will follow.

But what I had in mind in writing this series is similar to weight loss—we aren’t dieting for a while so we can lose weight—we’re changing our lifestyle so we can make a permament change in our lives. If you practice all the stuff I talk about in the series simply because you want to make more money, then I think you’ll be disappointed. You won’t enjoy work as much and you’ll become extremely bitter if you don’t get the raise/promotion you hoped for. All that hard work “for nothing.”

Maybe getting a raise should be a whole other series to put together…

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