Five things I’ve never regretted doing at work - JobAdvisor : JOB SEARCHING , CAREER ADVICE

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Five things I’ve never regretted doing at work

Regrets, I’ve had a few.
As we know, I’ve been working for [mumble mumble] years. Some of them good, some of them spectacular, some of them really, really painful. Along the way I’ve sabotaged myself on projects, committed grave public typos on behalf of respected institutions, and prematurely sent sale emails to thousands of people because I didn’t double-check the list. I’ve accidentally insulted the boss’s wife, and I've fallen asleep in meetings. I'm basically the best.
But here are a couple of things I’ve never regretted doing at work:
Saying “thank you.”
No one hears it enough, it costs nothing, is inoffensive (unless offered ironically). There was a great article a few years ago about the power of positive reinforcement in animal training. The best way to get, say, an elephant to do what you want isn’t by yelling at it. It’s by praising it for doing the right thing. Encouraging the behavior you want to see - is more effective than negatively reinforcing undesired behaviors.
Asking for a raise.
I didn’t get a raise every time I asked, and I may not have deserved them. But I did get them more than those who didn’t bring it up in the first place.
Owning a mistake.
Come clean early, apologize sincerely. If you own a mistake promptly, you can probably mitigate the damage. Your colleagues or manager may be able to help, and are more likely to be sympathetic if you admit culpability. It’s way worse to try to cover up an honest mistake and get found out later.
Asking someone privately if they’re okay.
If it occurs to you that it might be a good thing to do, then they’re probably throwing off despair vibes. Even if nothing’s wrong or they choose not to open up to you, it’s good intel for them to know the impression they’re making.
Sharing a laugh.
Work is hard. Life is complicated. If you can’t laugh at work, you can’t do your best work. Even serious work benefits from good humor. Keep it clean, non-religious and apolitical. Videos of baby goats in pajamas are (almost) always a winner. You know your workplace best.