Utilising Out-of-Hours Opportunities
Although you may not wish to feel like you’re ‘at work’ 24/7, it certainly pays to be alert at all times when it’s possible that you may come into contact with someone senior from your workplace, especially during these recessionary times when we are all keen to put our best foot forward.
It may seem a little unpleasant to admit it, but when companies are looking to make people redundant due to a downturn in business or cost-cutting measures, anything you can do to make sure it’s someone else instead of you that gets the chop is worth doing. That doesn’t mean that you should drop your colleagues in it or be devious; rather you should be the best that you can be so that yours is not the first name the boss thinks of when redundancies have to be made.
If we can assume that you are doing everything you can to shine when you’re at work – performing well, meeting your targets, building positive client relationships and always being smart and on time as a very minimum – then we need to think about the extras that can really make the difference.
Friday Night DrinksYou mustn’t think that going out for drinks with work colleagues is the same as going out for drinks with your friends, especially if anyone more senior than you will be there, too. This may sound silly, but it is imperative that you don’t keep some ‘professionalism’ in your behaviour, even though it is out-of-work hours. Don’t drink too much – stick with a couple of drinks and sip them, even if your colleagues are sinking them. If it means you spend more on rounds, so be it – say you have a busy day the next day if you need a reason for not joining in.
It’s a good idea to enter the spirit of the night, though – don’t make a big deal of not drinking too much and no one else will notice. If you get talking to your boss or a senior member of the team, keep the conversation up and friendly. Don’t get drawn into a Bitching Session About Your Colleagues or start criticising the company – even if your boss is! You don’t have to suck up to them either, but keep positive, talk about new ideas you’ve had without going into full pitch mode and don’t corner them.
Networking EventsLots of companies are huge fans of Utilising Networking Events to build their business relationships. As a rule, a member of staff will join a networking group and attend weekly meetings, often over breakfast at a local hotel, before work. It may not be expressly stated that you’re intended to go to such a group, and they are often deathly boring, but it certainly shows a positive attitude and a willingness to go that extra mile. Join up to your local meeting or ask a colleague if you can go along as a guest one week.
Random MeetingsIt is bound to happen to you at some point – you bump into your line manager, boss or, God forbid, the owner of the company at the least opportune moment. You may be in the supermarket, out for dinner with friends, or at a party when you see them and know that they’ve probably seen you.
Rather than skulk off and hope you can avoid them, take the bull by the horns and go over and say hello. Depending on their character and the relationship you have, have a brief chat about where you are and what you’re doing there and say how lovely it is to see them outside of work. Don’t be a creep and don’t be rude – you’re allowed personal time but they will still see you as a representative of the company. If you’re with a friend or partner, do introduce them but don’t feel like you have to invite your boss to join your dinner table! As long as you’re friendly, you can say that you need to get back to your guests/task and you’ll see them in the office on Monday.