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.

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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.

How To Find An Attorney For Civil Suits And What To Expect

It looks like my mold saga is coming to an end. We seriously considered finding an attorney to help us negotiate with our landlord. It was a frustrating process, but my eyes are definitely more open to the reality of what it’s like to work with an attorney.

Last month I was at a kindergarten graduation and I was talking to one of the moms. The topic of lawyers came up because she had been through a divorce. She said, “all they want to do is bill you.” I didn’t think much of it but after looking for representation of my own I realized she was right.

I Learned A Few Things About Lawyers And The Law This Week:

  • The Purpose Of Tort Law

Tort law, according to Wikipedia, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Its purpose is to right a wrong that has been made and put that person who was harmed back as if they were whole again.

So if someone negligently drives under the influence and ran someone on the sidewalk over and then that person lost their legs, tort law tries to find a monetary amount that would be equivalent to losing your legs. In other words, how much are that man’s legs worth?

So even though we were exposed to mold in our apt, which could have dangerous health effects on us and our 2 month old baby, the fact that we weren’t dead or dying didn’t give us much of a case.

  • Lawyers Aren’t Going To Do All The Work.

I don’t know why I have this image in my mind of lawyers wanting to jump at the opportunity of righting some injustice, but that’s not even close to how they work.

They don’t want to have to prove you have a case. YOU have to go to them and prove that you have a case under the law. That means you have to do a bit of digging on what laws apply to your issue.

From there you might get a consultation and if the attorney feels you have a good enough case, then he’ll take you on and start the process of the lawsuit.

  • It’s All About The Benjamins

Even if you have a case, that still doesn’t mean you have a case worth taking on. Because attorneys need to get paid one way or another. It’s going to be either hourly billing or contingency.

For contingency fees, they usually run 33% if you settle and 40% if it goes to trial. Zilch if the case doesn’t settle or win. So what they’re really looking for are cases that can settle or win.

For most attorneys, the question on their mind is, “If I take this case, how likely will it be to win and how much will I make.”

If they can’t make money off the case, they won’t take it.

  • Personal Injury Attorneys

Our first attempt to resolve this was to find a personal injury attorney. And they are the worst. I could not get a hold of a single one of them. They all had these bulldog secretaries that just took information and messages. Whether the attorneys actually got the messages, we don’t know, but I never heard back from anyone.

I thought it was really ridiculous that they spent all this money on advertising, to bring clients in, but they couldn’t be bothered to meet with us or respond. I guess we just weren’t dead or dying enough to make a case that was worth the money.

  • Find An Attorney That Specializes On What You Need.

At first it felt like we were taking shots in the dark. I would call personal injury attorney’s and ask, “Do you do mold litigation?” I didn’t have any referral attorneys that I could turn to. If someone said no, I would ask for a referral. It seems no one wants to give another attorney a referral.

None of the lawyers would help me so I had to rely on information from the legal secretaries. One straight out told me I would have to be severely injured for them to take me. Another referred me to the state bar association. The state bar can refer me for a $35 fee. Another secretary was more helpful and told me I would need a landlord/tenant attorney and to check AVVO.

AVVO is basically like the Yelp for attorneys, they sort by area and specialty and can help you find an attorney that has the experience you need. There are also a lot of reviews, so you can choose a top rated attorney.

  • Be Prepared To Drop Your Case Before It Even Started.

“I’ve always found the legal system to be disappointing” That’s what my dad said when I told him I wanted to sue over the mold.

Well, he was right. After I finally found a landlord/tenant attorney to meet with me for a $150 consultation, we learned we wouldn’t recoup much in damages. Maybe one months rent.

The attorney was very knowledgeable but basically laid it out for us that to pursue this in court would cost more than we could get and that basically we need to negotiate with our landlord to fix the problem permanently or to allow us to break the lease. I felt a little jipped, of course I can negotiate with my landlord directly and they already told us we could break the lease. What we wanted were damages for the costs of moving and furniture!

Our search for an attorney was long and stressful. In the end we did get enough information to make an educated decision on what to do about our apartment. I honestly hope I never have to consult a lawyer again or use an attorney’s services. Because at the end of the day, getting injured from mold or anything isn’t worth a large settlement.

We learned a lot from our situation. In case you ever need legal advice, here are the questions you’ll need to ask:

  1. Have you ever dealt with cases like this before?
  2. What is your success rate
  3. What is your retainer?
  4. Do you work hourly or by contingency basis?
  5. How will you keep me in the loop about the progress of my case?

Good luck and thanks for reading!

I Hate My Commute

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I’ve written a few posts on how difficult my job was but I’ve been thinking that my commute definitely plays a role in how I feel about work.

I commute 1.5hours-2hours each way to get to my job. It’s pretty horrible. Every morning I walk 2 long blocks to wait near a bus stop. If I get there and there are already 5+ people, I know the bus is full and it’s STANDING ROOM ONLY. I commute on those coach buses turned conmuter bus so it’s not that bad, you can recline the chair, get some air from the air control thing on top, but it’s always so full. Everyone on the bus is packed in their seats with their multiple work bags and you often have to shimmy through the thin aisle, craning your neck to look for seats while careful not to step on any toes.

It’s not even a far drive, without traffic it’s literally a 20 minute drive but it’s the traffic. Literally “I can run faster than this” kind of traffic that spreads for miles before the Lincoln Tunnel. Once I get off at the Port Authority I have to dredge through the subway. And don’t even get me started on how bad the subway smells. Often times I’m not getting a seat there either. Or I’m sitting across to the homeless guy spread out on the seat. Then I have to walk another 5 blocks to get to my office. They say the average commute time is 24.5 minutes in the United States. I am commuting about 3x-4x that. It’s crazy.  And the commute stress is a lot.

Now I wish I had some sort of list on how to make your commute shorter, make your commute easier or more bearable but I don’t really have much advice outside of getting a crossword puzzle, listening to a podcast or taking a nap. It’s one of those things you can’t change unless your willing to also change your job, your pay, and maybe even your outlook on life.

I think of my husband, who also has a long commute to work. He drives an hour+ each way to get there. The congestion on the way home is ridiculous it sometimes takes 2 hours. And he’s driving the whole time. I’ve ordered him some lumbar support because his back was hurting from driving so long. Apparently back pain from driving too long isn’t uncommon. Sitting for prolonged periods is one of the main causes of chronic back pain. Unfortunately for my husband, there’s no way out of his long commute unless we move.

My mom used to do a killer commute, thankfully shes retired. She’d drive 5 minutes to her bus stop, ride the bus for 30-40mins then take the subway an hour from the first to the last stop. Sometimes she’d be shoulder to shoulder with people the whole time. She always used to tell me that her commute was the hardest part of her job. I remember in the last years of her working, she had these frown lines on her forehead. She used to try Botox to get rid of them and it would never last more than 3-5 months. One month after she retired, the frown lines were gone. I guess working and commuting can do that to you- make you look old and give you wrinkles. I think I’m already there myself.I always wondered why my mom was so tired after work.

I honestly don’t know why do people need to commute, why can’t people just live closer to their jobs? Oh yeah, because living in metropolitan areas is expensive and most working class people can’t afford that.

Maybe that’s just part of being an adult. Working a job that pays the bills and doing a commute that makes you want to pull your hair out. Or maybe it’s my attitude that’s what really needs to change. On one hand, I can be more positive about my place in life right now. Not everyone has a job or even a job that covers all their expenses. My commute is hard and demanding, and so is my job. I’m hoping I can survive a few more years until I find something to replace it. Not everything can be perfect and right now I’m coming to terms with that fact. Still, I need to practice gratitude. 10 years ago while I was still struggling in college I would have died for a job like this. And now that I’m here, it seems less like what I want. People aren’t made to spend 15 hours a week commuting. Thats 780 hours a year or 32 days!

But perseverance is everything. For those of you reading with crazy commutes and difficult jobs, hang in there. Despite everything, your goals are worth more than the satisfaction of quitting.

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Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

Stress at your job or feeling over worked concept.

This is my first post in a while. Thought I would just get back into it. I’ve been working at my “well paying” but toxic job. By toxic, I mean totally manipulative, cut throat, constantly changing and stressful toxic workplace. But luckily, I am on maternity leave until August. I’ve been there nearly 3 years and somehow managed to survive and out live several other employees.  Yet still I have days where the toxic work culture kicks me down and I feel totally lost on what to do.

I have survived 1 horrible bitchy manager only to be replaced by a slightly less horrible condescending, sexist manager. I survived 5 receptionists and countless weekend receptionists. I survived 1 assistant director. All these people gone and yet I remain.

For me my motivation for staying in this dead end job include the fact that I am paid well (for now), have good health insurance, have a decent schedule. And honestly, I would hate to quit and give in to the bullies. How would I feel knowing that I was run out of a perfectly good job because people are assholes?  It’s still worth staying even though I hate my job sometimes.

So here are my tips on staying sane and staying on your grind. Your job is definitely not perfect, but it’s still a job that puts food on the table.

1. Be Humble: Pride is the worst vice and when you start to think that you are better or more deserving of something ,that’s when resentment builds. Yes, know your worth. But if you’re in a position where you need to stay at your job, resentful feelings are really just  a waste of energy. I used to want justice for every slight or disagreement. But that desire for justice came from a place of pride, not a place of actual righteousness. Learn to recognize where you are being prideful and instead ask yourself how you can be humble. I like to be humble by telling myself I just need to focus on my own performance, my own objectives and my own motivation.

2. Focus on the positives: Understand your reason for being there. What are your financial goals? How do you plan to make the most of this experience? How does this add to your resume? Do you like this position in general, maybe there are aspects of it that you like? Focusing on these points will help make your job more bearable and less stressful. The effects of positive thinking are numerous. If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change how you think about it.

3. Care less: If you’re a type A personality this might be a hard one but recognize that you don’t have to love your job. Your job doesn’t even need to love you. All you need is just to do your job. Show up and get it done. Your job isn’t going to dry your tears when they lay you off or fire you. They’re not going to give you more time off than allowed when your going through a tough time. If they don’t care, why should you? I’ve spent too much time caring about a position that doesn’t give two sh*ts about me. I know this, yet my struggle lies in the desire to be acknowledged. Stop wanting that acknowledgement and you’ll start to feel the burden of stress lifted off your shoulders.

4. Build your own support network outside of work: Do not commiserate with coworkers. They can’t be trusted and it can be construed as spreading gossip. Friends, family, online network of strangers on Reddit or blogs going through the same thing…these can be a great base of support when you feel like just giving up in general and stressed from work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it certainly wasn’t built by one man. Being able to vent in a safe place is key and essential to your mental health.

5. Document, document, and document: some workplace bullying is illegal and discriminatory especially when it pertains to protected classes like age, sex, disability etc. The issue is that it’s not always clear up front whether you are being discriminated or not. So document everything. Make sure everything is in writing. If there is discrimination it will flush itself out as long as everything is documented and written.

6. Make an exit plan and stick to it: If your job is really messing with your mental health, the truth is you just can’t stay there. It’s ok to make plans to leave. How many times have I said “I’m going to find a way to quit,” and magically the job gets better and I decide to stay? This cycle has repeated itself so many times. But your mental health is NOT WORTH IT. Make plans to either find another job or build your own business.  Do something that will earn residual income or passive income so you can take a lesser paying job on top of that.  It might take a year, it might take 3 years but those years will pass you by faster than you think. Being perpetually miserable for a paycheck isn’t the answer so find a way to break the cycle and commit to your exit plan.

Overall, employment takes an average of 2080 hours per year. But that still leaves 6680 hours in a year to get stuff done and pursue your passion. Work isn’t the end all be all and if you get fired or if you quit, your identity won’t be lost. We are not what we do for a living.

My husband always tells me this when I stress out, “They don’t pay you enough to stress like this.” And he’s right, they definitely don’t. I’m not an executive or a director. Why should I be stressing the way they would about their jobs?

To sum up this blog post, working in a toxic environment is tough, probably tougher than working in a physically demanding environment. But finding ways to cope in a stressful job when you have no other options is essential to your wellbeing and mental health.  Workplace stress is not worth it.  Work, work, work and all stress would drive anybody crazy.

Check out my other posts!!

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My Job is Killing Me….