Workplace Rights

Weekly (9/21/09)

Topic of the Week  My Right Foot... Starting a new job the right way

Keys to success at work:
• Work ethic.
• Physical skills.
• Verbal communication.
• Written communication.
• Working with people.
• Influencing people.
• Gathering information.
• Using quantitative tools.
• Asking and answering the right questions.
• Solving problems.

Your Rant: How can you improve your odds of making a new job work out?

911 Repair,
With so many unemployed, if you manage to get hired it’s really important to start off on the right foot. You don’t want to screw up and fall flat on your face, which reminds me of my daughter Frankie’s first day of kindergarten. The class was barely ten minutes old when the teacher walked across the room and tripped over my legs. Yes, just minutes into my kids education and I almost killed her teacher.

My daughter still was able to laugh about her “silly” dad. But chances are your new employer will be less charitable if you trip the boss, or take a fall yourself. That’s why it’s so important to know the keys to being successful at work right from the first day. I’ve included ten rules below. For more, check out, “10 Things Employers Want You To Learn in College” by Bill Coplin (10 Speed, 2003).

Work ethic. Employers expect workers to be very hungry today, because for the first time in a while there is a line of ‘em outside willing to take over if someone isn’t cutting it. There is no coasting in this economy.

Physical skills. Every job has its physical requirements: typing, lifting, walking, etc. Whether alone, or with some help, we’ve got to be able to master the skills needed to do the job.

Verbal communication. For many of us work is a never-ending telephone game. Remember, the game you played in elementary school where the message got totally garbled as it went from student to student around the classroom? The ability to both send and receive messages at work clearly and concisely is something that’s essential today.

Written communication. There were times in corporate history where you could get by without great written communications skills, but no longer in this email, text and twitter era.

Working with people. Yea, I know, work would be great if it weren’t for the people. But that’s the hand that we’ve been dealt. So deal with it.

Influencing people. Getting along with people is phase one, getting them to do what you need them to do is almost always an excellent way to distinguish yourself.

Gathering information.
Surf and win. We all have extremely powerful online tools at our fingertips. If you don’t have access at home, spend time on the free computers at the library because we all need to learn how to get the information we need.

Using quantitative tools.
A.K.A., numbers. Anecdotes are great, but at work we need to learn how to back up our positions with numbers, data and statistics.

Asking and answering the right questions.
Answering the wrong question correctly takes time and effort that could be better spend elsewhere. The fastest way to the right answer is to start with the correct question.

Solving problems. Problem-identifers are everywhere, problem-solvers are golden.

Follow these tips and you won’t trip yourself up at work.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"I am not young enough to know everything."

–James Matthews Barrie

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