6 Steps to Thriving at Work: Step 1


Looking Towards the Future

Today, it’s not enough to be doing a good job; you need to prepare yourself for the future, in two principal ways:

Stay abreast of new innovations in your field. The future is now! No matter your line of work, the way we work, from computers to governmental requirements to the changing needs of your customers, is changing all the time.

Preparing for the next rung on your career ladder. How can you be next in line for a promotion?

Staying Abreast of New Innovations in Your Field

No matter what field you’re in, technology impacts your business. From garbage collection (computerized routing) to art (the Internet offers a new way to reach dealers and collectors), high tech is everywhere.

New software programs, new equipment, and new ways to communicate: make sure you can keep up. If your computer skills are less than robust, you have plenty of options: classes, books, online courses, or enlisting the help of a “techie” coworker or friend.

But computers aren’t the only agents of change. From global political upheavals to the graying of the population, we’re in the midst of transition, with no signs of slowing. So how do you keep abreast of these changes?

Read: Read trade publications, newspapers, news magazines, books, articles–anything you can get your hands on. And make a point to pick up something outside your field of interest at least once a month.

Talk: Use your lunch hour to discuss emerging trends with your coworkers. What’s happening in other areas and how might that impact your job?

Listen: Listen to what your boss raves about, what the CEO emphasizes in company meetings, what your neighbors and friends are buzzing about.

Network: Join a professional organization, mingle with others in your field, and notice what topics keep arising.

Preparing For the Next Rung on Your Career Ladder

After evaluating what skills and abilities are required to perform at your current level, you need to look at what’s in store in the future.

The process is the same as the self-evaluation, except you’ll evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in terms of the position to which you aspire, not the one you presently have. Take the job description for the position above yours and see how you measure up. What skills are you missing? How can you get them? Prepare a plan and decide on a timeline. By the time you’ve mastered those job requirements, the promotion will all but have your name on it.