10 New Rules For Workplace Success

In my new book, Promote Yourself, I list several rules that all professionals need to follow now if they want to be successful. Here are ten of the rules, why they matter and what you need to know about so you stand out at work and become an indispensable employee:

1. Your job description is just the beginning. To be successful today, you need to do more of what’s asked of you. If all you do is what you did yesterday, it’s impossible to get ahead at work. The smartest employees will not only do what they were hired to do, but will seek to take on their manager’s responsibilities so that they will be positioned as a future manager. It’s the only way you can acquire the right skills that will make you qualified for that position.

2. Your job is temporary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average person has eleven jobs between the ages of 18 and 34. It’s rare to find someone who has been in a single job or company for a decade or more these days and it’s more acceptable. You need to see yourself as a free agent and make sure that you’re not only getting paid market value but that you’re in a position where your passion and talents meet.

3. You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have right now. Employees need to look to the future, not just the present, when developing skills. Skills that were important years ago are less relevant today. Think about your profession and the new skills that will eventually be required and then seek them out if you want to position yourself for success long term.

4. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have. The one thing you get to keep as you move around in your career is your reputation. It’s the work you’ve done and the people you’ve impacted. If you have a positive reputation, people will gravitate towards you and if you don’t, then it will be extremely hard to progress.

5. Your personal life is now public. Most people are connected to at least some of their co-workers on social networks and when you leave work, you’re still connected to work through technology. Things you post online when you’re not in the office can affect how you are treated at work. A post could become the subject of office gossip the next morning so be careful what you put online.

6. You need to build a positive presence in new media. Your online presence, which could contain a website and social network profiles, are assets you can use to grow your career and attract the right opportunities. By posting professional related content, you’re able to connect with like-minded professionals who can help you push your career forward.

7. You’ll need to work with people from different generations. Currently, there are three generations in the workforce and in the next five years, that will change as boomers retire and Gen Z takes some of the entry level positions that Gen Y leaves behind. Currently though, we have Gen Y, Gen X and boomers and they have different communication preferences and views about how and where work should get done. By understanding this, you will be able to better work with them.

8. Your boss’s career comes first. You need to find ways to make your manager successful, less stressful, and his or her job easier. This way, they will trust you with more work and when they get promoted, they will take you up with them. If your boss isn’t successful, it’s very hard to advance because your boss controls your work experience.

9. The one with the most connections wins. We’ve moved from the information economy to the social (media) economy. Now it’s all about who you know, who they know and who knows you. By using social media to grow your network, you will have a competitive advantage over others who fair to use it. The more connected you are, the more valuable you will become.

10. Entrepreneurship is for everyone not just business owners. In a recent study by my company and oDesk.com, we found that 90 percent of people view entrepreneurship as a mindset instead of the role of a business owner. Everyone should have this mindset if they want to thrive in today’s workplace because if you don’t take risks, see opportunities where others don’t and aren’t able to sell yourself and your ideas, you won’t go very far.












Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. His new book, a New York Times best seller, is called Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin's Press) and his previous book, Me 2.0, was a #1 international bestseller.

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  • Darci

    Dan, curious how managers feel about #1. A bad boss, and there are many, might be threatened by this. What if your boss doesn’t want to empower you to take on more? What if they fear you might “take” their job?

    [Reply]

    Dan Schawbel Reply:

    If you have a bad boss, it’s very hard to succeed in the first place. Your goal is to find the right boss and then give them all of your attention and effort.

    [Reply]

  • Chris Thompson

    I totally agree with #9. The one with the most relationships wins. It is so vital to build out your network. Take time to meet and engage with people in all areas of life. The bigger your network the more opportunities become available. It is not easy to develop these relationships. They are like plants which need consistent watering. Don’t get frustrated. Continue to hand out those business cards and reach out to a few folks who you feel connected in some way.

    [Reply]

    Dan Schawbel Reply:

    Chris, if you have a large network, you can get answers to your questions faster and learn about new opportunities.

    [Reply]

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