Keyboard - golden key Success
Flickr photo credit: @csitscenter

Okay, so I’m not going to claim I’ve got some great secrets for being successful at a corporate 9-5 type of job, but I do think I can provide a few bits of insight.

And while this isn’t exactly related to traveling around the world, I think it’s something most of us will have experienced at some point in our lives. And the simple guidelines I work by our generic enough that they’re pretty much applicable with everything I do.

Should you be a people pleaser?

Umm… no.

There’s always someone in the office who is, but it definitely doesn’t help you to be one. Sure, you should be nice, you should be concerned about your co-worker’s happiness, you should be willing to compromise. But, you should not be a people pleaser. These are not your #1 priorities. I firmly believe that priority #1 should be you.

Here’s the three basic rules I go by at work:

  1. Be nice.
  2. Be honest.
  3. Speak up.

Offer to help & chime in when possible

It’s important to be polite. My best work relationships are those with whom I not only help when needed but who I can hold a conversation with on topics unrelated to the task at hand. By being nice to those I spend nearly 8 hours a day with every day of the week, I not only form solid friendships, but it makes the cubicle environment so much more enjoyable.

I’ll happily help those that I can. I’ll provide my insight when it’s useful. And I’ll selflessly do favors. Because of all that, people then get to know me and respect me.

Don’t beat around the bush

So many people tip-toe around emotions to spare others feelings, but really, if you just speak up and speak truthfully, you’ll be much more appreciated. Ask questions to get to the bottom of something. Often, just speaking your mind and being straightforward will not only solve your conundrums, but will gain you the respect you probably deserve.

Honesty really just makes you more of a trusted and respected member of the team.

Don’t sit on the sidelines

Alright, this one’s a little more challenging depending upon your work environment. In my job, I’m not afraid to speak my mind (and sometimes even chime in on matters I don’t need to). I can credit this skill to the fact that I trust my managers and that I’m not afraid of repercussions (and would take the blame as needed).

Respect among my co-workers is mutual. I’d find it hard to believe if you couldn’t find a single trait worth complimenting or appreciating in a co-worker (this goes with being polite in the workplace, as well).

Secondly, by speaking up you get to defend your position (or be willing to compromise). I am by absolutely no means good at debating (terrible, in fact), but am willing to honestly speak my mind. And by doing so, you open yourself up to meeting more people and getting more involved with whatever it is that you do.

So what’s all this got do with travel?

Well, for the past three years I’ve been working 9-5 (or close-enough to those hours) and have been generally “semi-successful” at my job. I’m well-liked by both my co-workers and superiors. I’m respected and trusted to provide useful information. My opinions are sought out on matters they normally wouldn’t be. All of that has given me the confidence to get where I am today, and the hope that I can get there again in the future.

When I pick up and go, I know I’ll be leaving behind a career that I can come back to. I’ll be leaving behind co-workers and friends I know and like but the relationships will hopefully remain. Success at work (in my opinion) is about forming good relationships—not about the money or the title. Coincidentally, those are the facets of the workplace we’re most likely to feel shortchanged and unsatisfied by.

With “traveler” as my new job title, I’ll take my three skills and apply those to my new career in traveling. What are some life skills you’ve found to be useful in the workplace—no matter the location? There must be some universal skills applicable across the world.

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