Tag Archives: work

5 Steps to Make Your Work More Challenging (Without Job Hopping)

If you’re like almost half of all workers, chances are, you don’t feel challenged enough at work. In fact, Business Week recently reported that 46% of women and 49% of men say they don’t feel like they’re being challenged in their jobs. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to jump ship and look for work elsewhere.

If you don’t feel challenged at work, here are five steps you can take to start raising the bar for yourself – and make yourself more valuable to your company.

1 – Ask for Better Work.
Start by having a conversation with your boss. Approach this conversation with respect rather than frustration. It’s not going to help your job – or your relationship with your boss – to complain about things. Be able to demonstrate your competency in your current work load, and then let your boss know you feel confident in the current tasks you’re assigned to and that you’d like to take on some additional tasks. Sometimes, simply asking for new work is all it takes to add challenge to your workday.

2 – Spur Your Own Growth.
Whether or not a conversation with your boss is successful at adding new tasks to your plate, professional development is a tried and true way to improve your work. By learning more about your field or industry, discovering how to use the latest trends in your current job roles, or observing new ways to approach old processes, you can rejuvenate your thinking – and maybe even challenge the status quo yourself. Professional development comes in many shapes and sizes these days, so try several approaches and see what works for you. Join a local professional group, befriend industry leaders on social networking sites like Twitter, or learn by teaching others.

3 – Develop New Ideas.
If you want to be the kind of employee who gets the best work, often, you have to be proactive and go after it yourself. Use the knowledge, skills, and ideas you develop through professional development and apply them to your current job role. If you have a spare hour in your work day, don’t use it to catch up on personal e-mails or peruse the Internet like most workers do. Instead, step out ahead of the pack and start something that will make your own work more challenging. Use your spare time at work to develop ideas you have that could help your department or company reach its goals, save money, or better serve customers and clients. Challenge yourself to develop innovative products, cost-effective processes, or cutting-edge concepts, and you’ll feel more energized – but don’t stop there.

4 – Propose and Present.

Simply spending time developing new ideas will help you feel more challenged at work, but to add value to your company, you have to take your ideas to the next level so you can actually implement them. Some of the best tools you can use to sell your ideas to your boss – and equip them to sell your ideas to their bosses – are the proposal and the presentation. Write a well-thought-out proposal to help you clarify your idea to yourself and sell others on its value to the company. Create a thoughtful visual presentation explaining your idea, and then set up a meeting to pitch it to your boss.

5 – Follow Up and Follow Through.
Once you pitch your idea to your boss, let them know you’re serious about moving forward by asking for their immediate feedback. Ask them to give you specific questions or ideas you can use to improve your proposal. Let them know you’d like to meet again in a week or two – to talk about moving forward. Then, follow up. If they don’t adopt the idea immediately – or at all –  that’s OK. New ideas are proposed all the time, and not all of them come to fruition. Continue developing ideas, listen to the critiques of your boss, and learn from the process. And if your ideas do get the green light, make sure to follow through with excellence.

If you feel your work lacks the challenge you’re looking for, don’t make the common mistake of waiting around for your boss to notice your potential. And don’t assume it means you need to find a new job.

Take the responsibility for making your own work a rewarding daily challenge, and not only will you beat the Monday morning blues, you’ll start adding accomplishments to your resume and building the career you’ve been dreaming of.

5 Simple Ways to Appreciate Your Boss (Without Kissing Butt)

Anonymity – the feeling that you are not known or appreciated for your job role – is one of the three signs of a miserable job. Everyone craves to be known and appreciated for the work they do. In fact, it’s the role of the boss or manager to provide this for every employee.

Do you ever think about who is appreciating your boss for the work they do? Chances are, they don’t get as much thanks as you would think.

Many people are hesitant to demonstrate their appreciation for a great boss. That’s because, there’s often a sticky side to employer appreciation. No one wants to be known as the office brown-noser. Especially at the price of co-worker relationships.

But, the fact is, a great boss deserves to be appreciated – and more than just with a card on National Boss Day. So, here are five simple ways you can show your boss your genuine appreciation – without kissing butt.

1. Strike up a conversation. Depending on your work situation – and your boss – this may be the easiest thing in the world or it may be difficult. Either way, having an informal conversation with your boss is a great way to build rapport. Don’t forget, conversation can happen in many ways – it doesn’t have to be in person. Write an e-mail, or make a phone call, just to say thanks or catch up. Then, make sure your thankful, positive attitude shines through in the way you communicate – verbally and non-verbally.

2. Help them meet a deadline. When you’re on top of your game and have time to spare once your tasks are completed, invest your time in helping your boss meet – or beat – an important deadline. Adding time into your boss’ workweek by offering to lighten the load when you can is one of the best ways to show your appreciation.

3. Share important news. If you have a pulse on a niche or are well-read in your industry, consider e-mailing interesting articles or resources to your boss to keep them well-informed. This practical idea not only saves them time, it also demonstrates your value and just may spark an innovative idea.

4. Send them a note. Consider writing a short note of appreciation or encouragement to your boss and leaving it on their desk. For an even bigger impact, mail the note – to their work or home address. The cost of the stamp will be worth it. Personal mail is so rare these days, your gesture is sure to stand out and make a positive impact.

5. Use the golden rule. Most bosses aren’t perfect. But who are we kidding? Most employees aren’t perfect either. So, choose to focus on the positive aspects of your boss, and show your appreciation for those factors. (Even if you don’t feel fully appreciated by them.) A simple act of gratitude may speak multitudes into the heart of even the most callous boss.

You may be surprised how far a little thanks can go. After all, a positive attitude is contagious. So, no matter how good or bad your relationship with your boss stands right now, realize you have the power to make it better than it is today.

Taking the time to show your thanks – whoever your boss may be – just may spark the positive energy they need to better motivate your entire team.