11 months ago I almost quit my IT support job with a large Accounting company. Jay, the owner of Dumb Little Man, and my best friend, told me to list 25 things I could personally do to get ahead. I was skeptical because I seriously hated this place but I made the list because I had nothing to lose but time and I didn’t want to start to job search.
I couldn’t come up with 25 so we settled on 20. He then tweaked it a little saying that it was too easy to fulfill. Anyway, I took the list and posted it on my cubicle wall. I read that damn thing every morning when I got into the office. To this day, I still have it practically memorized.
Last Friday, I was promoted and I actually moved up 2 spots so I am now earning an extra $15K year. Kind of nice if you ask me.
Here are the missions we put together:
- I will work and think as if I were the SVP of my IT group. This will include how I interact in meetings, with co-workers in the hall, etc. This will train me for the future.
- If I ever decide I don’t like the company I work for, I will still act like the SVP because that is the position I want. I will not become a complaining, gossiping troll because my reputation will follow me.
- I will look for areas that my company fails. One day I will fix that failure by starting my own company.
- I will be the guy to speak out with new ideas in meetings. If it’s going to save money or increase revenues, I will never be out of line.
- I will lead others and show my strengths because someday I may want these people to work for me.
- I will finish everything I start. I am not going to mentally bail on a project.
- I will shut up and listen when I don’t know 110%.
- I will study new trends so I am the guy with the good idea.
- Regardless of what my boss says, I will review myself each month and then ask for help where I need it. My company can train me so that I can move on.
- If they ask for 132 TPS reports, I will do them. One day I may ask an employee of mine for similar reports (even though it’s repulsive to think).
- I will speak my mind in the face of rejection when I am confident that my idea is a winner.
- I will know how competitors do things so I can suggest better solutions in meetings.
- I will not bend to process bureaucracy. If the customer needs it, we have to figure it out.
- I will learn as much as possible about the roles people play in my company. One day I will have to fill those roles.
- I am able to recite my 5-year goal at any time.
- Resume builders are nice but I am pushing for seminars that will train ME.
- I will dress more professionally then the rest on casual Friday.
- On internal conference calls, I will ask questions. Not dumb annoying ones, but questions that pertain to the company’s EPS or EBITDA.
- I will be in the office before my boss’ boss 90% of the time.
- I will leave the office after my boss 100% of the time.
A lot of Jay’s list irritated me but in 30 days things got a helluva lot better. In retrospect, it wasn’t the job making me upset, I just had an ego problem – I felt like I was better than everyone else. After I followed through on my list, I proved I was better.
I know a lot of you may call some of this ass kissing but I was pretty blunt in these meetings and it wasn’t my boss that promoted me – it was his boss. The job was never even officially posted. I am now a firm believer that leaders are winners. This list is coming with me wherever I go.
Take it or leave it.