Follow the rules
Rules are made to be followed in a meek manner. You know this to be true just as you know those “ how to get to the top” books aren’t to be taken literally. After all people who get to the top get to rewrite their history such that there are no career move blunders. That “sideways “ move was a courageous strategic decision that enhanced your career opportunities rather than a forced change of direction the result of some ill judged comments, one too many brave decisions and being caught ignoring the rules.
All around you are people making steady career progress by following the rules and being un opinionated. Why would you think you could get away with ignoring the rules?
Work smart and harder
Those management gurus who tell you the secret of success is to work smarter not harder are simply ignoring the reality of life in a modern office. If you simply work smarter and therefore achieving more in less time you will be very unpopular with your colleagues for making them look bad and your boss will simply give you more to do and may consider you a threat. If you put in more hours, get to work before the rest go home after the rest, you will be thought of as committed, a characteristic which is valued in organisations. However if you are ambitious you need to work harder and smarter.
Sell out but get a good price
Closer working with the private sector, operating in a more business like way and outsourcing services can throw up ethical dilemmas and make the individual question their professional and personal values. Austerity has often meant choosing between unacceptable options. Resigning on principle every time you are forced to go along with an uncomfortable decision isn’t realistic. What people do is express their concerns, say how uncomfortable this makes them feel but get lots of brownie points for loyalty and professionalism for publicly supporting “ difficult” decisions.
Dress for the job you have
If you dress for the job you want rather than the one you have you are making a bold statement that you think you can go further. Colleagues may consider this arrogant or over confident which may be unhelpful if you need their support and cooperation. Like wise the idea of dressing to impress will certainly get you noticed but do you want to stick your head up above the parapet? The moderately successful become so by not drawing attention to themselves.
If you adopt the way of the moderately successful you will rise up through the ranks slowly almost unnoticed until you arrive at a more exposed destination, beyond which you can no longer be considered moderately successful.
Blair Mcpherson former Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk