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People think of their record with employers in different ways. Some consider working hard every single day as sufficient in itself. Others may look at their extra contributions that go beyond the call of duty as what sets them apart.
Although these two combined are important, when an employer looks at an employee’s service, the impression often encompasses more than just the work performance – despite its importance. People are often remembered for their personalities, i.e., flexibility and attitude as well as their influence on the work environment and others.
The point is a person who was an excellent worker but fared when collaborating as a team member may still get a less-than-positive reference from a past employer – even when the employer is trying to be fair. Negative office relationships can color judgments, because when the work is reviewed from a larger perspective, the review goes well beyond your immediate responsibilities.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when considering forming your image with an employer:
When people settle in a job, they may begin to take it all its benefits and recognition for granted. Once they stop working on improving themselves and their work, the result can be devastating even when they are doing a good job.
Many others in their organization or outside may be speeding their professional development with training, continuing education and new projects. That is why being stagnant can hurt.
Their work also appears to others to be routine and doesn’t get much attention as long as it is being done. That is why it is important to innovate, to come up with new ways to improve or at least reinvent how things can be done more efficiently.
To impress and remain on the radar for professional advancement, maintain a top-notch performance, come up with new ideas, dress as good as you did on the first day, and stay positive and constructive. When you focus on all of this, you will be able to keep your image as a valuable employee with a lot to offer.
Avoid tiffs and office politics
Always look at the bigger picture. How much damage will picking a fight with a coworker cause you? Ask yourself if you can avoid a disagreement, compromise and work out solutions instead of getting a supervisor involved.
Because time is precious, if you’re wasting too much of it on issues, problems and disagreements with coworkers, your performance may appear less acceptable despite the hard work.
Sometimes these issues are brought on by others, and you just may find yourself involved. In these cases, the best route is to avoid the situation and not engage others as much as possible. When needed, show flexibility and avoid pointing figures. Having said that, don’t be too passive that you find out your image is being distorted and you are not doing anything about it.
Be vocal about your experience
Make constructive statements about your work experience. These should be in the form of feedback that helps the employer understand what you appreciate and what you think can be adjusted. You may not always get an immediate response to your statement, whether it’s positive or negative.
If you frame them correctly, however, you probably will be able to set your own path accordingly.
For example, think of a scenario where you get an opportunity to handle a project independently for the first time. If that is something you’d like to see happening more often, say it. Mention to your supervisor how much you enjoyed overseeing a project from start to end, elaborating on the highlights that required your attention, and don’t be shy to give yourself credit for everything that was done correctly.
The more you set the tone for what you want in terms of professional development, your abilities and skills and your performance (as long as your statements are true), the more likely people - including your supervisors - will begin to take these as fact.
They even may remember these years later when they are called to provide you a reference.
Help employers remember you for
• Excellent performance.
• Collaboration and flexibility.
• Rising above small issues.
• What you say about yourself and your work.
Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor