How do you advance in the workplace? How do you grow in your career? What should employees do to get a raise, promotion or both? As and accountant these are constant questions I get.
Building a career is little different than building a business. Keeping your customers happy is very similar to keeping your boss satisfied. In the end it all becomes a matter of managing satisfaction. We all need to know who to keep happy.
If a customer is too difficult to deal with, we let them go, replacing them with a new customer. If our boss is too difficult to deal with we should…”fire them” and find a new replacement (preferably finding a good boss before leaving the bad one).
However, if you like your boss how do you advance in your career? If you don’t want to move out, how can you move up? The easiest way to describe it is “have your value be noticed”. What you do should be recognized by your boss as indispensable. When you do it, should be held as valuable.
I have consulted with many operators and drivers. I have often met drivers who say they just can’t seem to make a living. One excuse is, they say there is never enough miles. After a few questions I find out they… won’t drive into: Quebec, New York, New Jersey, BC, California etc. They won’t leave Sunday evening, or cross boarders, they must know their entire trip before they leave, refuse to fuel at certain approved locations, restrict communication with shippers/receivers/dispatch, leave only when they want to leave, return only when it suites them, book time off without notice and come up with some of the most ridiculous excuses known to North American society. This type of behavior is called operational narcissism.
Many years ago I also hired a young guy by the hour (with his team) to unload boxes from a truck. He literally RAN back to the truck to get more boxes. He also demanded his team to run back as well… if I was watching or not. This man later built a great service business… no wonder, he hustled when nobody was watching!
Advancing in your career requires sacrifice and commitment. Your boss should know your name as a fixer, a problem solver, the guy who gets it done, and reduces the level of operational stress. Your boss must view you as a competent person, a person of value and resources.
Once a reputation of job competence is established… kick it up a notch. Find out what your boss dose not like to deal with, then do that in the way they want it done. Make HIS job easier. In order to do that you have to start thinking like your boss, see things from their perspective and make HIS work easier.
Two things will come from that type of action. First, you will be simultaneously appreciated and ignored for a while. Don’t loose heart because a good boss will keep his/her eye on your consistent performance. You are being “watched”, over time. Promoting someone just because they had a good week, month or even year isn’t the quality of a good boss. They need to be shown consistent long term higher level behavior and character. Make sure the boss sees your character saturating your abilities. A good boss hires character first, ability next.
Secondly, be PREPARED for growth, opportunity and promotion. Far too many competent people arrange their lives in such a way that they cannot take advantage of opportunities. Opportunities sometimes mean a cut in pay or even a required investment. That means you must get your personal financial life in order. When an opportunity arises, you must be prepared to take advantage of it. Coming off the road (or any type of promotion) sometimes means an increase in responsibilities of time/effort. Be PREPARED to sacrifice.
If you wish to grow in opportunity ON THE ROAD, keep your eyes open for ways to serve your company (Boss) with things that help him and the company. I have seen many operators help build the carrier by finding out new freight opportunities that have been overlooked or unknown by the carrier sales team. There are literally hundreds of situations to help the carrier that others simply will not do or think of. Prove to the company your value.
Finally, but certainly not the least, don’t produce a negative value. Emotional “blowing up” whining, or just plane ornery behavior is almost universally repulsive. Showing a temper, exposing a critical attitude is simply not tolerated long term. The only type of boss who promotes an irritated person is a bad boss, one who should be fired or replaced. Just because a temper is “tolerated” due to a serious shortage of drivers, dose not mean its good for your career.
All this investment in your boss’s responsibilities should produce a return. However, if you see that your boss is not a good boss… consider letting him go, provided of course you have a GOOD BOSS available to replace him/her.
Hiring a good boss requires some research and investigation. It hardly advances your position if you replace one bad boss for another bad one. If that happens your just spinning your wheels, you just wasted a year of your life and put a demerit on your resume as a potential carrier hopper. Learn to discern a good boss from a bad one, know what you already have compared to what is out there.