Last week, we were introduced to Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Generation Y research and consulting firm, a world-renowned career and workplace expert, and a New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself, a book about how we can better promote ourselves and get the recognition we deserve at work. We also recognized just how badly we want to be acknowledged for our efforts - it rates number one on the list of factors that influence our happiness at work (it even beat out making more money… shocking, right?) But while feeling appreciated is the number one factor for being happy at work, it’s also something that’s beyond our control. Think about it…isn’t feeling appreciated letting others’ reactions control our happiness at work? Does that make sense? Isn’t that being passive? Shouldn’t we take an active part in this process?
Last week, Schawbel helped us understand how we can take a more active part in the recognition process. This week we continue the conversation with his thoughts on how using soft skills, building relationships across all generations of workers in our offices, and thinking “inside the box” among other topics can help us do a better job promoting ourselves:
MF: “Please define "soft skills" and explain their importance/relevance in today's workplace.”
DS: “Soft skills are the intangible skills that enable you to communicate and operate effectively in your team. They could include the ability to handle conflicts, interpersonal skills, delegating work and prioritizing tasks. As more technical skills get automated, your soft skills will become more important for building relationships with your team and getting work done.”
MF: “In terms of promoting ourselves, how important is it to build relationships across all generations in the workplace?”
DS: “If you want to promote yourself, you must build relationships with as many people as you can across different generations, genders, ethnic backgrounds, etc. Diversity is key to learning something new and gaining new perspectives. We don't know everything and have to recognize that. By reaching out to people who are older or come from a different background, we become more effective at our jobs.”
MF: “One of the chapters in your book is titled, "start your own business while on the job." Can you talk a little more about what you mean by that in terms of promoting ourselves at work? And what's your take on how important is it for today's worker to have ‘side hustles’ that, if promoted properly, might turn into a career or at least help build several revenue streams for the worker?”
DS: “If you want your career to skyrocket at work then start a new project, practice or entire business unit within your company. By being entrepreneurial at work, it's low risk to you because it's not your bank account, and it gives you the opportunity to have a breakthrough career moment. You become the person at the company that accomplished something major that has taken your company forward and will reap the rewards as a result. Today's workers need to have side hustles and do work outside of their job description if they want to stand out, keep active and have an advantage over others.”
MF: “Can you explain your notion of "thinking inside the box" when it comes to promoting yourself?”
DS: “We often hear "think outside the box" yet there are so many resources at our disposal within our companies. Instead of trying to come up with something new, think about how you can leverage the expertise of your fellow employees and the capital that your organization can provide you to solve problems.”
MF: “I'm in my 40s and I still think that leaving a job after only a year is way too soon. But others, especially younger workers, may think a year is a long time. How can we broach these differences in time perspective when it comes to promoting ourselves?”
DS: “The best time to leave your job, where you will maximize your experience and make the most money, is between the three- and five-year mark. While my generation has been accused of job hunting more than older generations, it's simply not true. Throughout history, people have always changed jobs more frequently when they were younger and became more stable in their careers as they aged. In order to become more effective at promoting ourselves, we have to spend time outside of the traditional work hours to learn new skills and meet new people.”
MF: “How will the evolution of technology continue to change how we promote ourselves at work?”
DS: “Technology will change how we promote ourselves at work because there will be new platforms for showcasing our talents, and new mediums we will use to collaborate with our teams. While technology will always change, the most important thing is that we evolve with the changing times. The relevancy of a skill is a mere five years, so we need to be accountable for constantly learning new things and then applying them on the job.”
For more information on Schawbel and his book, Promote Yourself, visit www.danschawbel.com.