Fox & Friends this morning had the list of top ten office buzzwords that people find most annoying. I know that catch phrases and buzzwords can often be used as nonsense or filler, but that doesn’t mean the phrase itself doesn’t have some wisdom worth considering.
Here are my top 5 catch-phrases/buzzwords that I think made a difference in my career. Maybe they can make a difference in yours.
1. Add value – A job isn’t just a list of tasks – it’s part of a value chain that keeps your company in business. Understand your job from that perspective, and then look for ways you can add value to your piece of the puzzle. If you don’t know how your job fits, ask someone to explain that to you — if you’re a boss, ask yourself whether or not your employees understand this equation. If you’re not sure they do, make it a priority. You can’t expect them to add value if they don’t know what the value is in the first place.
2. “Nobody owes you a living.” This is one my Dad used to say to me and my sisters. We all started working regular jobs when we were 16. Dad made sure we knew that getting the job wasn’t the important part — working hard enough to keep it was. He frequently reminded us that our employers were paying us a wage to DO something. The employer didn’t owe us anything for just showing up. If we didn’t do a good job, we shouldn’t be paid. I’ve always remembered that and have tried to instill that in my children as well.
3. “Give 110 per cent” – This is another of my Dad’s lessons (and one of the catch phrases Fox’s survey said was most annoying). Maybe people find it annoying, but it’s a good idea anyway. Doing what is required is 100%: show up on time, do the tasks you’re assigned as well as you can, work (don’t play) during the hours you’re paid for. That’s the minimum. If you can do a little something extra, you’re adding to your own value and showing that you care about yourself and your company. This has made a huge difference in my career, I believe.
4. Make things happen, don’t just let things happen – This is especially true in your career. I know people who complain about not getting raises or promotions or opportunities to work on projects – and many of those people never volunteer for projects, never offer up creative ideas, or go above and beyond. Your career is yours to manage. Sure, you can’t make everything happen just when you want it to. Good people have been laid off, companies have closed causing people to lose their jobs. But, even in those situations, moving forward is up to the individual. It may take time, and it may be a long road, but no one can make it happen for you. You have to make it happen for yourself.
5. It’s what you know AND who you know – The cliche is “it’s NOT what you know, it’s who you know.” In my experience, it’s both. Knowing a lot of information or having a great skill is important. Just having skills isn’t enough. Being connected is critical to a great career, whether within your company or with people outside your company. As a business owner, I can tell you that connections and networks have made my business what it is. I know a lot — but I have to connect with people to be able to get clients and provide services. Networking IS critical!
I’ve had a great career, one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and been successful at. Lots of people have helped make that happen over the years, and I’m grateful to them all–from my Mom and Dad who taught me how to work to employers, co-workers, partners and clients. I’m still enjoying my career, and I’m still trying to practice the 5 points above. If your career has been great, pass along your wisdom to others. If it hasn’t been what you hoped for, think about what you can do to change that. The power is yours.