How To Get Ahead At Work Without Brown Nosing

Brown-nosing. My personal definition is that brown-nosing is when someone sticks their nose up someone’s figurative ass. They get right up cozy into the crack and take a good big wiff of whatever’s up there just so they can get close to the decision maker in their company and benefit from it. Flattery, compliments, baby-talk, gifts and other inappropriate behavior is how the brownnoser get’s their nose as far up that crack as they can go.

I personally find brown-nosing to be the most disgusting, underhanded, and pathetic thing to do at work. And yet so many people are just so willing to throw their self respect in the garbage and brown-nose their way into a big paycheck.

Why?

Because it works. Bosses have egos and for some reason they like when people brown-nose. It makes them feel important in their position. After all, why would someone take a job with more responsibility and stress if they weren’t getting some status and money in return?

But despite how effective and despicable brown-nosing is, there are some of us that hold onto our dignity and just can’t get ourselves to stick our noses up our boss’s ass to get ahead.

Thankfully, you don’t have to sell your soul to get promoted.

Here Are My Top Ways Of Getting Noticed At Work Without Having To Kiss Up To Your Boss.

Be Reliable, Be On Time

This works wonders. Just being on time and being reliable can say a lot about your character. People who are consistently late are generally perceived as lazy, unreliable, selfish and irresponsible. Even if you’re late once, you can leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth depending on how important it was that you be on time. Some people say that they can’t control traffic, their kids ability to get out of the house on time or that there was a random emergency that came up. 99% of those excuses are bullsh*t. Planning ahead can easily help you with your tardiness issue. You need to anticipate where you need to be and all the obstacles that can get in your way and aim to be early. By being timely, you’re saying to the world that I respect your time, I’m reliable and I’ll do what I say I will do.

And what kind of boss wouldn’t want an employee like that. When it comes down to it, if you’ve proven that you’re reliable, your boss will see that and give you more opportunities over the unreliable employees.

Speak Your Mind, Share Your Ideas

I used to be so afraid to share my ideas at work. Mainly because my ideas would question the status quo or a direction the company was taking. I was afraid of rocking the boat. I don’t mean “question” like in an adversarial way, but I tend to offer a different alternative. I think that speaking your mind and offering your perspective can be incredibly empowering and help you stand out.

And occasionally I’m able to offer a view that’s highly valued. There have been times when I pointed out a flaw in a program that we started using or a scheduling conflict or paperwork that needed to be completed. Catching these problems early and being able to point them out efficiently has help me seem like I know what I’m doing at my job, that I’m not sloppy, and that I care about the quality of my work.

Be A Team Player

I’ve actually been guilty of not being a team player 100% of the time but this is definitely something you want to do if you want to get noticed. Being a team player means sometimes letting the other person get work that you wanted to do, stepping outside of your role and training others and taking the advice of others around you.

Being a team player is actually really hard because, often, your company is asking you to take part in something that you don’t necessarily agree with, whether it’s the direction of the company with a new hire, or merging departments.

But being able to step up to the plate during those difficult times and have a positive attitude can absolutely make you stand out to upper management.

Ask For More Responsibility

Asking for more responsibility is not necessarily brown-nosing. It really depends on how you approach it. Are you saying that you want to do more work than other people and that you’re better at your job than other people? That would be brown-nosing. But if you really have some extra room on your plate to do some work then go ahead and ask for it. The worst thing to do is to skate by with as little work as possible while everyone else is drowning

A good boss will definitely appreciate initiative and may even take this as a sign that you’re ready for the next step, like a change in role, a promotion or a shift in responsibilities.

So asking for additional responsibility it’s definitely not brown-nosing as long as you do it in a tactful way, without throwing others under the bus and are honest about your intentions for why you want to take on the extra work.

At the end of the day, let your work speak for itself. You don’t need to kiss up to someone, give unnecessary gifts, flatter or any of that stuff to get ahead. People who do that are just really insecure about what they have to offer and then want to play the “like me card.”

And as a caveat, if you’re not getting ahead after putting in good work, loyalty and years on the job then it’s probably a good time to consider other options and opportunities. Not all employers will see good employees and reward them but that’s on them and usually results in a higher turnover.

So just be yourself. Work hard and be friendly. Brown nosing it is never the way to go if you want to keep your dignity.

Check Out My Other Career Posts

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What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work smarter not harder. Avoid perfectionist personality
Work smarter not harder. Avoid perfectionist personality

I was writing a comment on this article.  The article was about being a type A personality and it inspired me to kind of dig deeper because this guy was writing about how he has like 3 jobs and is a perfectionist and easily works 16-17 hour days. And he was kind of promoting this as a normal thing to aspire for. That he was type A perfectionist personality that demanded so much from himself. I was short and sweet with my comment but was basically like, “You need balance, dude! Work smarter, not harder!”

We live in a work culture that takes advantage of these types of people and pits the work horses against everyone else for the sake of production.  We don’t need to be promoting this type of behavior. Honestly, the writer was essentially sacrificing his relationships and health in the long term for more money short term. And that to me does not seem like a good deal.  I guess he had to think it over, but he eventually commented back that he was only working this hard to build for his future for his finance and cut down his debt and that he agreed that this current workload was not sustainable.

It really did make me think about the type of people I often find in my workplace vs the type of employee I wanted to be.

There are really 3 types of workers:

Lazy workers– Typical worker, makes up a majority of today’s work force. Doesn’t care to improve or grow professionally.  Happy with their slice of pie, only thinking about their salary increases and benefits. Looks at investments and business opportunities as too risky.

Hard workers– Time is money and these people tend to follow paper like it’s the gospel to life. They sacrifice all their personal relationships, free time, hobbies to work. These work horses generally are high earners in their company but leverage their salary for more responsibility and more hours. They have a perfectionist personality and are also adverse to risk They’re only going to consider investments and business endeavors if it will reap quick money.

Smart workers- leverage their experience and time for more money. Unlike hard workers, who sacrifice time for money in positions that they are easily replaced in, smart workers focus on long term career growth ands specialize in niche areas that will be of great use and high demand. Or they recognize their unique experience to be valuable and come up with a business idea that blows up.

I think the difference between the three workers is really just attitude. The lazy worker is the worst, they are not really able to see beyond themselves and their long term contributions to their work. They don’t have the ambition or drive to give extra and see what it reaps. They often hold the belief that they are hard working enough and that they should get better pay for just being there. They often exhibit bad habits like lateness, lack of detail, lack of effort, a disinterest in the work.

My previous receptionist was this type of worker, I had mentioned her in a previous post. Her issue was that she knew the work but would “pretend” to forget or not know in order to lighten her workload. Over time this worked she had the easiest role in the office, leaving at 6 when me and our manager would often leave at 7. But when my asst. director came in to restructure the office, it became obvious she was the weak link to our production, so she was the first to be cut and the easiest to replace.

My old manager was a hard worker she would make sure all deadlines and reports were complete, it would be so detailed. Everything had to be perfect. Any reports that she did would take hours to compile. Her work was correct but at the end of the day none of the directors had the time to actually review it in depth so it went unnoticed.   She was also a shrew with a perfectionist personality that made sure she had a majority of all the deals so between the deals she had to close and the detailed reports she had to do, she was working 60 hours a week. Yes, she was making more money. But she was also working more hours and putting more effort to make more money. She wasn’t any happier either. For all that money she was making, she wasn’t enjoying it and she eventually pushed herself out of a good job with her self-created discontent.

I think the happiest kind of employment, the one I aspire for, is to be a smarter worker. I think it takes a lot of self awareness to pick which traits are marketable and in demand.  I also think courage to take take that skill and make it a business, especially if no one else has done that before.  And I think it takes a lot of confidence to put a price on those skills and stick to it.

When I was an rental agent , there were other agents charging less than a months rent in commission.  They were undercutting a lot of agents.  Considering you had to pay the brokerage a piece of your deals, taxes, and other business expenses, that basically meant that those brokers had to work on a high volume basis.  They were spinning their wheels, showing apartment after apartment in the summer heat.  They had to be dishonest to keep the leads and clients flowing.

I didn’t have the heart for all that.  I wanted to work smarter, not harder so I focused on quality and getting the highest commission possible, almost 2 months worth of rent.  I focused on creating value and marketing my skills for getting the best deals for clients so that my commission would pay itself off after the first year.   Well, I wouldn’t say I was the highest earning salesperson but I definitely made just as much as the high volume agents with literally HALF the work.  That was working SMART.  I had people who were so happy with my service, they were referring other clients who would pay FULL commission.  They were referring other clients who would buy properties with me!

I ended up leaving that work environment due to personal reasons, but I never forgot the lesson of what it meant to work smarter.

Now I’m working  a salaried position and I’m constantly trying to find ways to make my time more valuable, be an efficient worker and to do more with less and be more productive.  I’m hoping my company would value that and reward me at bonus season.  I’m also trying to find ways to leverage my other talents and skills, to hopefully something profitable.

There’s no one rule for working smarter but if I had to name one thing that will definitely help you, the #1 way to improve efficiency at work:  STOP DOING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING.  Most people are not smart or even hard workers.  Following the status quo is the recipe for mediocrity.

Share the ways you were able to find better use of your talent and time below and have so much of a perfectionist personality, I’d love to hear it.

If You Like, “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” Feel free to read my other posts:

Office Politics: Win At The Workplace

Cut Back On These 6 Things To Save Hours of Time

Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

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Why I Took The Risk And Quit Law School

Why I quit Law school. Too many lawyers
Why I quit Law school. Too many lawyers

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Why did I quit law school? After all, there are too many lawyers. What’s the appeal? I think a lot of what has held me back in life has been my own insecurity over what other people think. There’s kind of a safety in following the herd and doing what’s expected. I was always one of those people who found safety in numbers. Sure, standing out meant you might be liked more but it could also be an opportunity for people to put you down. So that’s what I did for many years, I was a self chosen wallflower. I wasn’t much different from anyone else, nor did I want to be.

For people who suffer from self esteem issues, there’s a lack of self acceptance that causes you to doubt yourself. A little voice in your head that says, “I don’t know about this, people might think this is stupid.” What I’ve learned over time is that that voice is irrelevant. I really pushed myself against what other people think. In my heart, I knew what was right for me and though my actions seemed risky to others, I followed my passions.

I feel like the story about how I quit law school is pretty relevant to this message. You see, like many young college students I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what my talents were or where my interests lay. I knew I was smart and was able to get good grades with some studying. Grad school seemed like a good option. And I like money and respect so going to law school seemed perfect. Never mind that there are too many lawyers and I didn’t know what kind of law I wanted to do. I could figure out what kind of law later. I had a vision that once I became a lawyer, I would be important and rich and everyone in life would like and respect me. So I took the LSAT, applied to different schools and finally was accepted to a decent law school in NYC with a partial scholarship. Everything seemed perfect.

A few days before I started law school I had a gut instinct that I didn’t want to go. I really didn’t want to study just to be another lawyer in a field of too many lawyers.  That was the first sign to quite law school.  I didn’t know where this feeling came from, I knew I shouldn’t be pursuing this degree. It was like a feeling of dread, like something terrible was about to happen. Logically, I didn’t have a good enough reason not to go, I didn’t listen to that instinct.  I went and spent 30K on that 1 year of law school.

And I bombed.

I sucked at the test taking. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t absorbing the information. I sucked at legal writing, I sucked at contract and real estate law. And I wasn’t happy. By the end of the first semester I started to question whether law school was the right direction for my talents.  My parents said, “No, you’ve got to see it through. Don’t be a quitter.” I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter by anyone. Even though that terrible gut feeling of doom was back, I continued my education for more torture.

That second semester, I was not sleeping or taking care of myself and literally abusing my body with adderral. I needed to get better grades, at whatever expense. I was getting addicted to adderall and by the end of that semester I was just over it. I didn’t bother checking my grades, I knew I was at the bottom of my class. June came and people had internships and I was like WTH, no one is going to hire me with these grades and I don’t think I can get through two more years of law school and a bar exam to become a lawyer.

So I quit.

The Assistant Dean actually called me when he saw I didn’t enroll again. I just let it go to voicemail. I couldn’t go back. My parents told me, “This is a decision you’ll regret for the rest of your life.” I wasn’t hearing it, I wasn’t going back to be another lawyer, there were already too many lawyers who were not getting their investment back from their degree.

That year, people would ask me how law school was going and it was so embarrassing to tell people I had quit. I tried to say it in a way that didn’t sound like quitting, “Oh I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney. Law school wasn’t for me.”  And it wasn’t. But being seen as someone who walked away from an opportunity really hung over my head.  I had quit law school and the question on my mind was “now what?”

After that I did an oddball office job until I got the special idea that I should be a real estate salesperson in NYC. I think I got the idea from Million Dollar Listing NY. LOL. I just loved the flashiness of it and the hustle. It seemed so legit. So I got my license and then signed up with a rental brokerage. It was the easiest thing ever.

I sucked at that too but I had the passion and drive to keep at it. I could tell you a billion stories about all the shitty client’s I had and all the fun deals I did but I’ll save that for another story.  I eventually climbed up the ranks to a great six figure sales opportunity. When I think about my current opportunity, I think DAMNN, you lucked out girl. This was a true hustle.

Other things happened in my life that I felt was totally not the norm, like getting pregnant at 23 and having a gunshot wedding to my college boyfriend who dropped out of undergrad.  Without a plan in sight, I’m sure it looked like our lives were about to crash land into loser land.  But K and I hustled like a dream team and made it work. Now people are looking at us like the power couple that got it all done before 30.

And if you told 20 year old version of me that I would be killing it at 29, I would have called you a liar. But we really did it and worked hard for the life we have now.

I think the moral of this story is more like:

Don’t be afraid to do you. Follow your gut and take risks. You’re not going to win at every single risk you take but at least you’ll have the experience and learn from it.

People who don’t take risks have nothing to lose but also nothing to gain. That’s the truth. The people in my life who played it safe are now wondering, “why isn’t life happening for them?” I just want to shake them and say, “because you did nothing to make it happen.”

I want to inspire everyone who’s reading this to think about the one thing you always wanted to pursue and then make a plan to create that reality in your life. Life and success doesn’t happen to lucky people but rather people who go out and make things happen. So the one thing I would recommend everyone focus on is to care LESS about what other people think about them. Of course there’ll be people who don’t like you or try to put you down. Those people are the minority and if you’re making people upset, that just means you’re doing something right. There are too many lawyers, but at least there’s one less unhappy one-me.

I hope my story was one that inspired you! Please like, share and follow!

Check out my other posts too if you like “Why I Took The Risk and Quit Law School”!

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I Survived A Toxic Manager & Toxic Workplace Environment

Toxic workplace environment toxic manager
Toxic workplace environment toxic manager

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My manager was a b*tch. She was a bonifide b*tch. And if this goes viral and she reads this, I hope she knows I’m talking about her. (Thanks EK for being the worst toxic manager I have ever encountered). The toxic workplace environment was hard enough but she made it unbearable.

We all have that one manager that we hate. The one that uses their position of power to serve themselves and abuse others. The one that uses emotional manipulation to guilt you into staying extra hours, often unpaid. The one that tries to screw you over financially and points fingers when things don’t go well. The one that manager that makes you question your commitment to your job and makes you want to quit with anxiety. I don’t know who put these people in their roles but, holy crap, the hiring process needs to get better.

I had just gotten into a position that I was really excited about when I met EK, she seemed friendly enough. She showed me how to do everything; put the bare minimum in training me but I was okay with that. After all, I didn’t want to be a burden, she was obviously very busy. I told myself that I could learn from my mistakes and I could learn quickly with very little instruction. Lesson learned, the first sign of a toxic workplace environment is an utter lack of training.

There were multiple red flags and looking back I realized what a dupe I was to believe her evil manipulations. In reality, I was between a rock and a hard place. A lot of stuff she did didn’t really make sense or feel fair but she was the only person who could show me the ropes. Even though she was only a year older than me, she had much more experience in the company and was well connected. Her brother and dad worked in other departments. EK always used her experience as a point of reference, “Trust me, I’ve been with this company for 10 years.” I mean, who can really argue with that logic? I was probably just really naive.

The toxic work environment started to show when she would hold these “meetings” five minute before the end of the workday. Looking back I really should have made a complaint at this point because these stupid were keeping me over 30-40 minutes and she wasn’t paying me overtime. I just felt sooo isolated. The director who hired me wasn’t investing anything into my training or checking in to see how I was doing. (Tells you a lot about this company, huh?). If I spoke out, who would listen?

I took on a lot of work beyond my scope because not doing so just made my job harder. Our receptionist isn’t trained? Well then, I’m fielding all the calls. Her paperwork isn’t closed out? Well then, her clients are going to be screaming at me on her days off when things don’t go their way. EK just liked to point fingers and not take responsibility. Apologies were not in her vocabulary. And with Upper Management not digging into their sites or taking a closer look, who was going to be the wiser? (The toxic workplace environment red flags were shining in neon lights).

She was the coldest woman I ever met. When she would get stressed she’d throws me under the bus and make sure I knew exactly how I was failing in my position. I could literally feel her satisfaction as I stuttered an apology and looked down at my desk feeling helpless and losing confidence in myself. Over time my work self-esteem just started slipping away. There were times she wouldn’t even bother to hide her nasty personality, her sneers at how incompetent I was still ring in my ears.

Why would I put up with that, why would I let someone disrespect me like that? Don’t I have any self-respect? How many times did I really think about storming out and throwing the towel in? So many times, but I worked too hard, got too far to let ONE person push me out. The truth is that my job wasn’t that bad. I’m paid well and reasonably. I’m doing something that I enjoy and am good at. The benefits and time off were good too. This was a GOOD JOB. And to quit now would be going back to the drawing board, career-wise. So I stayed and took it. I made sure to document the issues I had with her and keep her on edge. Over time, she was still a bitch, but a more cautious bitch. And eventually she became more and more jaded with her own position and the toxic workplace environment, so she found another opportunity and left.

It was such a breath of fresh air to be away from the negativity EK brought to the office.

It wasn’t until she finally left that I realized how toxic of a manager she was. I had always struggled to get deals through but apparently she had the system rigged. Which was surprising because for the past year and a half I was led to believe I just wasn’t trying hard enough. You know when someone points out some obscure yet plausible reason why something is happening, but in reality the two are unrelated? That’s exactly how she explained things to me. My toxic manager had played the system so that she would get the bulk of the commissions. All her arbitrary rules, on what could be accepted plus her rules on which clients were hers, favored her heavily. She knew this full and well but still took the digs at me for being low performing compared to her. She went as far as to complain about me to upper management, saying, “I can’t focus on my own role because Alex is too underperforming. I need to make all the deals.” She suggested adding another agent, so that I would compete with them and then they could drop the lowest performing team member.

You would think women would lift other women up in the workplace, seeing how we’re underrepresented and all. So it really surprised me to realize that EK didn’t care to mentor me or help me grow. She was numero uno and that was all that mattered.

For those dealing with a toxic manager and toxic workplace environment here are a few thoughts of advice:

1. Pick your battles but speak up! If something doesn’t seem right, say so. Plain and clear. Let the other person be defensive and show how they are not screwing you over.

2. Break down your interactions and minimize them. I only had to work with EK 3 times a week and sometimes it would be 2 or 1 times due to holidays and PTO. In the larger scheme of things we only worked together 135 days out of the year. Our overall interaction in a day might add up to an hour. Dealing with her was manageable when I thought of it that way.

3. Document Everything: most jobs will want to “build a case” against you if they want to fire you. Documenting everything can save your ass especially in a company that likes to point fingers. You can build a case too on how you were a good and reliable employee and how your employee committed wrongful termination.

4. Think about the bigger picture. Your manager is one person in a small part of your life. She or you may leave for a better opportunity. It’s hard to think about it that way when week after week, someone is using their position of authority to get ahead of you. But life has taught me that challenges are temporary.

5. Things are always changing: My toxic manager left! If she didn’t leave, I probably would have found my way out. The corporate environment is a living breathing organism, constantly changing.

My toxic manager was horrible and I can only wish most of my readers don’t have to work in that kind of environment.  But at the end of the day we can’t always choose who we work with.  Stay strong and stay motivated!

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