By Anthony Otaigbe
Junior Accountant, BoatU.S.
I currently live in Manassas, Virginia but work in Alexandria. My area of expertise is Statutory accounting. I have been working in Statutory Accounting for a year now. Before this, I worked at a community college as a Grants Accountant for about a year. Working in both of these vastly different environments has given me experience about working in an office setting. One organization was government, the other was corporate. One organization was family oriented; the other was individualistic, where everyone quietly worked away in their cube. One organization believed in training employees, the other did not have the funding and thus did not believe in it. These two uniquely different experiences have taught me how to achieve the best results in the office environment with the least amount of effort.
Based on my responsibilities, here are my top five ways to TAKE your job:
- Subscribe to industry news subscriptions
By subscribing to the subscriptions in your field, this helps keep you informed on your industry’s latest trends. It is also a great resource for advice on how to network effectively, how to get ahead in the office, and other useful tips.
- Do not be afraid to assume new responsibilities (this means they trust you and rely on you!)
As we become less new in the workplace, it is easy to become satisfied with your current workload. That zeal you had for the first two weeks is all but gone after a couple of months. Perhaps you start to see additional work as a chore—you may start to question whether that additional assignment your boss gave you is really even “your job.”
Avoid these thoughts. Look at each additional responsibility as an additional opportunity granted to you by the powers that be to excel!
- Respect the veterans
Every office has veterans--people that have been working there before you (perhaps even before you were born). They have essentially achieved job security through mastery of their job. You do not want to make enemies of these people because they are the opinion leaders—they rule the office! The best approach is to listen to them (even if you disagree) and do it their way. After establishing yourself in the office (and developing rapport), you can gently propose ways to simplify a process.
- If feedback is not given on performance, ask for it! (do not wait for annual reviews)
Not knowing how you’re doing is worse than knowing you’re not doing well because when you know you aren’t doing well you can brainstorm ways to improve. If you don’t know you aren’t doing well, one day you may find yourself called to the office and told that it is your last day.
- Do not be afraid to ask the same question again (just word it differently)
This is especially important for first-timers in an industry or a job. Usually, people will not feel like fielding all of your questions because either they are too busy or just impatient. Be creative so that they can’t say “you keep asking me the same question.”