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Advices: Career Questions - Lost/Confused?

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  • Advices: Career Questions - Lost/Confused?

    Hi all,

    Hoping to start this thread so that cotters who'd just step into the workforce can post their worries or confusions here, so that we can learn from more experienced people in the workforce.

    Working is not only about the quality of work, it's also about the rapport building between your colleagues, how to leave a good impression to your superior, etc

    I'm sure as time goes by, we all can learn from mistakes and that's how we gained experience..but

    Let me just start...

    I just want to know

    1) How can one be proactive in work?
    2) If you find that your job is getting mundane and routine and bored, how do you bring it up to your boss?
    3) Is it better to be humble or to be confident?
    4) What are some of the taboo words that bosses don't like to hear?

    Last edited by cUp; 14-07-2005, 10:45 AM.

  • #2
    cUp, how to be proactive in your work is up to you. For me, in my ex-company, my boss gave me immense freedom to explore new ways of doing things, so that really boost my morale of thinking of new policies/ways to help the business. IMO, your direct boss is also important because he/she must give you the chance to explore and speak up. Then you will be more proactive in work.

    Now my question:
    1) I am just into my new job as a manager with 3 staff under me. At first I thought I should build a friendly rapport with my staff cos I dun really believe in "I'm the boss & they are my staff" thing. I believe in a peaceful environment with team work. But I have been warned by my superiors that by being too friendly with them they will take me for granted, cos I treat them as friends. They have not yet taken me for granted but will they? Should I start to be strict with them? What will they think if I suddenly change from a friend gal to a fierce boss?


    • #3
      1) How can one be proactive in work?

      During the course of your work, you may have discovered better ways to work or how to improve the work processes. Do bring that up to your boss and colleagues and suggest solutions to work problems and boost efficiency.

      2) If you find that your job is getting mundane and routine and bored, how do you bring it up to your boss?

      As long as you are coping well with your current workload, it's always good to ask your boss if you can help out on new projects or take on new responsibilities. But it's really important to assure your boss that you are ready to do new things.

      3) Is it better to be humble or to be confident?

      Be humble enough to stay level-headed and share credits with your teammates....but be confident enough to assure your co-workers and bosses that you will do your best and that you are a responsible and effective worker.

      4) What are some of the taboo words that bosses don't like to hear?

      I guess negative words like "I can't do it", "I'm not sure", "it's not my fault" or "It's too difficult". Bosses would rather hear solutions than problems!

      Just my thoughts


      • #4
        Winkie: I'm not a manager myself so I might not to be the best in dishing out advice. Having studied a bit of organizational psychology and HR before, I can only give some general suggestions.

        I believe your initial approach to create a good rapport with yr subordinates is always a good one. No matter what is the culture of yr organization is like (traditional hierarchical style vs the modern american style of management), it is often important to create a positive atmosphere in the office. More so that the newer generation these days don't like to be stifled and ordered around by superior in a autocratic and restricted style; and the increasing emphasis on staff motivation to achieve beter productivity. Give them enough freedom to do what they feel is the best approach for themselves to achieve greater productivity. But as a manager, be also there to guide them with your experience when they are lost.

        As for the concern of them taking u for granted, I believe that won't happen if u draw a line. Maintain the warm attitude, but not to lose yr 'dignity' by say, gossiping with them which may make them lose their respect for u. Be helpful to them when they are still new and exploratory, but not 'spoonfeed' them. Basically trying to maintain a balance between being task and relationship oriented. Being a manager u would be pretty busy yourself, so there won't be much time for u to spare to spend too much time doing what they were supposed to do. When they make mistakes, if it's the first time, correct them gently. If repeated, maybe have a talk with them to ask them why they keep making the same mistakes and ask if there are any problems on their sides. Lastly, do be open for feedback as well.

        Haha, so much for the above. Most of them are probably very theoretical which just provide a general guide. Humans interactions in real life can be very complicated so it's up to your instincts how to treat them. Eg, knowing and understanding their personalities, working styles and preferences help a lot too as u will know when it's time to adopt a more autocratic or delegative approach to yr subordinates. The challenge is to achieve a balance as to when to use these different approaches. I believe your experience will make u a good judge to use which at when.

        Hope this helps a bit.


        • #5
          Wow Vanessa....well said!


          • #6
   la.. but thanks anyway.

            Easy to say but may be harder to apply in real life.


            • #7
              Thanks all for replying

              I find that i'm very passive at work. I seldom have new ideas or coming up with good ideas..i'm less creative.....So when someone gives me instructions to do anything, I do not think on the spot. Instead, i will go ahead and follow the instructions and when met with obstacles then i'll try to resolve or ask...
              sounds so dumb!

              And right now, im doing more of admin my job is rather mundane and no challenge..

              I often use the word "i'm not sure if im correct but i'll try to explain..." and sometimes if the thing dont relate to me in anyway in my jobscope, i'll say "im not sure..." sigh..because my company is very big and has lots of division, so when come to some division thingy, im really not sure because i just joined the company 4-5 mths or i'll usually ask my colleagues to advice because shes in charge of the stuffs..

              i guess it left a bad impression to my boss.....

              Is there anyway to train up? or? I'm more technical person so i need to really feel the thing and the processes then i'll understand better....if you talk to me, and want me to give u a solution/new method right away, i find it difficult to do i slow?

              and sometimes u do get misunderstood by your bosses, and that'll leave an impression. Though not a very big thing. But will you explain? or just leave it? Because if you try to explain it, it's like very petty of u...

              One of my colleagues taught me some stuffs, which in the end i followed and do it like how she taught me. And when i found out something is amiss, i'll go back to ask her. She'll just briefly say "oh this is ok dont have to care abt it just leave it, not a big issue" Then i'll follow..Then when the boss ask me why this is so, how do i answer? sigh....
              Last edited by cUp; 18-07-2005, 03:36 PM.


              • #8
                "I'm not sure if I'm correct but I'll try to explain." shows a severe lack of confidence. You either know it or you don't, and if you're not sure, say you'll find out and get back to them and mean it. When you do something a number of times you gain better understanding of it. You learn from it each and every time it's repeated until you can do it with ease. So there's really no reason to say that you're not sure when you're proficient. This is not humility but a lack of confidence. When you ask someone and they say not to worry about it, it saves them time in explaining it to you. If it's not that important I'd say not to worry, but if it worries you enough that your boss might question it, you should learn about it for your own benefit. Something like "I'd like to know how it works out so I don't make the same mistake next time". I think it shows your enthusiasm for the job. If a job isn't challenging all the more reason you should be able to do it well. Because it's easy. Never push the blame onto others. Always show that you are willing to improve your own skills to suit the job. Unless there's outright backstabbing, which isn't what you're asking about here.


                • #9
                  Thanks Aphrael. I'm really willing to learn more. But i just dont know why im doing things in this way..sigh..I wonder if its really me or is it the people..sometimes cant help but to think that it's really me..and i seriously need some change..but i believe im a responsible worker..maybe i just taken wrong approach at some things..

                  Anyway, my team is small, and the work passed down to me by my colleague is an independent thing (so only SHE is answerable for it and i've only have her to approach since others dont know her jobscope). All along, she didn't bother to explain that discrepancy. So i thought its really insignificant enough. But apparently, my boss ain't satisfied. I asked my colleague and this is the answer she gave me and THATS precisely what she did for the past few years so i assume it's ok. And now its passed on to me, so im solely answerable for it. It wont create any BIG mistake but it's left pending with no reasons..Like im doing things "why is this left out?" then "oh all along it has been this way"'s not good at all right? maybe i should ask my colleague and make sure she gives me a satisfied answer....

                  In my previous job, things were smooth. Maybe these are some of the part and parcel of life that you meet with different people with different expectations and learn from there. I'm most willing to learn but I dont wish to create any wrong impressions. Yet this, most of the time, can't be avoided. People interpret you differently.

                  One thing, i dont report directly to my boss. I think i've left a not very good impression at her side.

                  But my colleagues whom im directly liasing with, know more about my strengths and weaknesses...I think they're pleased with my working attitude..but just my boss..

                  That line "i'm not too sure but i'll try to explain" refers to :

                  I explained solely whats my responsibilities for that issue. And for the rest that is out of my scope, i let my colleague explain because only she understands better of the whole situation. Im not sure what she's doing and i can't appreciate the accounting strings better than her because i did not have accounts background. So i asked my colleague to explain to my boss. so am i wrong? or i should have asked my colleague to explain the accounting entity to me?
                  Last edited by cUp; 18-07-2005, 04:15 PM.


                  • #10
                    I think it's a delicate situation - if you have job appraisal by your boss that might create problems down the track. I wouldn't leave it hanging and keep up with having the boss think you're inadequate. It'd be a good idea to actually talk to your boss at some point addressing issues he/she might have with you. But first, hone your skills and make sure you nail everything down pat. That way, noone can find fault with you. I think alot of people are guilty of not critically thinking or pre-empting potential problems, but since you're new I don't think it's a big deal. Your performance should improve with the length of time you're on the job. Stay positive all the time. It really shows.


                    • #11
                      Phew, what a long post....feels real lousy but i just feel there's no room for me to show my potential...sigh..but true enough, a simple job, i could've done better...

                      But Yeah, I'll try my best! Thanks! Hopefully I can become a whole lot better in capabilities and strengths.

                      Anybody out there facing similar problem?
                      Last edited by cUp; 18-07-2005, 04:23 PM.


                      • #12
                        Vantastica, thks for your advice. Though they are theory, but I'm sure they are thoery because they have been trial & tested. Hmm... Now I am trying to be friendly at the same time gently giving instructions here & there to tell them who's the boss here. He he... Anyway, it might be good for me to do some research on how to motivate the staff. Thks vantastica!


                        • #13
                          At least you have staff reporting to you, though I do not have anyone reporting to me. I manage projects with colleagues sometimes higher ranking than me. This is tough, especially when I am handling regional projects. Have to make sure that they fully understand what we are trying to achieve because of the cultural barrier. Though its still asia, different cultures differ quite a bit.

                          Lately been having headaches at work and my day seems to pass so fast and so little achieved.


                          • #14
                            Winkie: You're welcome! Glad to know I could be of help. Hope all goes well for u.

                            julie08: Seems like effective teamwork needs to play a part in it. Btw, where are u working? U're not in SG?


                            • #15
                              I've taken a step further and talked to my boss..its getting better..thanks for all the help girls! I want to improve...and learn more since im still young