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10 Rules for Career Success
When the job market is tough, it takes more than just showing up each day to keep your job, let alone earn a better-paying position. So what does it take to achieve career success today? Follow these 10 rules, and your chances of career success will improve immensely:

1. Get to work early.

Sure you want that extra half-hour of sleep each morning. Go to bed earlier and put that half-hour to better use, by being one of the first people to show up at work. Getting in early will show your bosses that you’re someone who cares about the job—and not just another timeserver. Best of all, managers and supervisors are far more accessible before work starts than they will be during the day. If you have a good idea, or some plan for doing things better, your best chance for presenting it is before everyone gets caught up in the day’s activities.

2. Do better than anyone expects you to.
Whatever the assignment calls for, do a little more—or do it faster than other people. The surest way to career success is to mark yourself as someone who does the job better than anyone else. Don’t worry if co-workers tease you about your extra effort. Being able to do more for your spouse and kids should make up for any temporary discomfort at work.

3. Come up with ideas for making things better.
One way to pass the time before the business day starts is by looking around carefully at your workplace and coming up with ideas for improving things. Use that relaxed time with supervisors to pass along your suggestions for improvement.

4. Be the first to volunteer for new assignments.
You’d rather not have to put in more time than you must. But you’d also rather keep your job and get a raise. When a new project is announced, be the first to sign up. Your initiative will be noticed—and eventually rewarded—by higher-ups.

5. Stay ahead of the curve.
The technology revolution means almost non-stop change for work-places. Make an effort to be among the first to master new tools and techniques. It will be noted that you’re often the one picked to help co-workers master a new system.

6. Continue your education.
Promotions and financial rewards most often go to those considered most qualified. Look around at all the courses you might take that will make you a more valuable employee. Let management know what you are doing by asking a supervisor: “What sort of courses do you think would be most useful to help me move ahead?”

7. Ask for honest appraisals of your work.
No one likes to hear criticism. Still, the best way to move ahead at work is to know where your performance needs improvement. If you don’t ask, you may never be told that your presentation or computer skills could stand some work. Use that informal time with supervisors to ask, “Honestly now, what do you think I should do to increase my value to the business?” Put the same question to peers and co-workers for a more complete picture of where you are falling short.

8. Be an enthusiastic worker.
Most businesses are trying to accomplish more today with fewer workers. That can mean working longer hours for the same pay. It can mean increased pressure with less time off to unwind. Show that you’re more than equal to the situation by keeping anger and resentment under control and by facing up to the extra stress with enthusiasm and a smile.

9. Steer clear of the class clown.
Every office has its fun-loving comedians. They crack the jokes that keep you and your co-workers chuckling. They tend to be among the most popular people in the office. Well, they may get attention, but they seldom get promotions and raises. Those are reserved for people who take their work seriously. you’ll do better on the job if you save the wise remarks for after working hours.

10. Keep thinking about what comes next.
Ordinary workers do their jobs and go home without another thought about the office until the next day. Rewards go to those who know what direction the business should move next—and are prepared when the change in direction occurs. Make the most of your time with management to ask about what is ahead for the business. Keep up with industry trends by reading the trade publications for your industry. The more you understand what the future holds for your business, the more you can prepare for change. This way, you’ll always be ready.
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