Becoming a Beloved Employee

By Marty Nemko

Part of Careers For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Most people want to become expert at their career and be appreciated for it and for the human quality they bring to their work. Here are keys:

  • Make people feel good about themselves. Most people want to feel good about themselves and certainly not feel embarrassed or stupid. Of course, there’s time to disagree and to criticize but recognize that you pay a price with each negative statement. Err on the side of positivity: Give earned praise, ask for advice, and, at the risk of sounding like your parent, say thank you.
  • Get technical but be a good explainer. Ever more jobs require technical chops but the beloved employee is able to explain the technical so clearly that even tech-averse people understand it. A mindset for doing that is to pretend you’re explaining it to a smart 6th grader.
  • Take your work seriously but retain perspective. No one respects and few people like Slide-Bys: people who do the least they can get away with. You needn’t work 12 hours a day but you might aim to be modestly more productive than your workplace’s average performer. Also, try to retain perspective — How important is that issue in the larger scheme of things? Hey, even Congress members discussing terrorism demonstrate concern but rarely fury.