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Three Habits That Have Helped My Career

Lessons from a non-expert

by Nataly  |  3302 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I am not a career expert or coach, so let's get that out of the way. What I know isn't based on extensive studies or reseach, just my own work experience and career. But I thought I'd share the three habits that I think have helped me in my career because you might find them helpful. And I'd love to hear what you think has helped you in your job and career, so comment away at the end of this article.

Habit #1: I make it personal.

This might sound a bit strange, but I've found it to be powerful: I try to create a personal connection with anyone I interact with at work. Clients, bosses, colleagues, assistants, service providers, conference organizers, people I meet at networking events--I get personal. This doesn't mean that I start telling them about the last fight I had with my husband or what type of underwear I like. But I do try to share some personal details and make our relationship less shallow than just about work.

Sometimes I genuinely like the person so talking to her about my personal interests or motivations is easy. But often I do it with someone I don't really like because I find that it helps our professional relationship be stronger--and helps me get what I need out of it.

Habit #2: I don't mind my business.

At each of my jobs, I've always tried to make sure that I learn about the other parts of the business or company and meet people from other departments. When I was in consulting I made up a tech issue with my computer so I could meet the tech support team. I stayed while they worked on my computer, made some friends, and later was able to use their connections to get staffed on some tech projects I really wanted to try. (I remember how shocked they were that a business person would care to learn about what they were doing!)

Habit #3: I write a lot of things down.

I learned that writing things down is a good workplace skill by accident. At my first job out of college I went to a meeting with a bunch of higher-ups and kept careful notes, mostly because it made me look less stupid than just sitting there and not talking. After the meeting I typed them up and emailed them around to those who were at the meeting--the feedback and thanks were great. So I learned to keep good notes in meetings, send emails when a big project ended with a summary of what we did and accomplished, or do things like send periodic notes to my bosses with what I was working on. I've found that this has helped tremendously with things like asking for a raise, promotion, or holding my own when a not-so-nice colleague tries to blame me for his error.

About the Author

I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!, a freshly minted entrepreneur, and an amateur writer.

Read more by Nataly

4 comments so far...

  • I've used #3 in parent-teacher conferences and IEP meetings. If the meeting is contentious in any way, the notes are very valuable later.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 2nd May 2008

  • Keeping notes on people you meet is a good idea. I tend to forget peoples names. I find that frustrating when I met them again.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by sew4heaven on 1st May 2008

  • I love this article!!

    It made me think about some of my own habits and one that came to mind immediately was my knack to start conversations with ANYONE! My poor hubby gets so tired of my chatting with people only to find a way to fit their interests with my new business. It is a kick! He always asks, "can we stop working now"? lol I just remind him of how much he will appreciate the "chatting" when the products begin to move.

    If it is okay with you... I may have to borrow, no, steal your wish, "to learn how to draw a line between work time and family time". I work a full-time job as an Executive Asst. and run my company in any spare moment I can grab.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Bayou Twin Mom on 6th April 2008

  • Thanks for the tips.

    My fave was about making a personal connection with everyone you meet.

    It's often through those personal connections that we learn of many potential career opportunities.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Latarsha on 8th December 2007