Be a “Yes” Man at Work

by Emily Jasper on February 13, 2009

If you have flexibility in your personal life, this is a good time to volunteer for work projects. Sure, your day may already be super-packed, but volunteer anyways.

While it may seem like taking on extra work, the value is going to be worth it in the long run. Why? A few reasons:

1. You seem like a go-getter: If the Head of Operations wants to know if you can take the next two-to-four weeks and train the team in Geneva, say “Yes!” Many might be uncomfortable (I had plans, I don’t speak French, I’ll be all by myself), but this is a risk that you’re not only willing to make, but one the company is willing to make on you. A short project in another office could be a good indicator of how you’ll do with larger responsibilities. Think promotion.

2. You’re a team player: I make it a personal goal to know as many people as I can in my company. All our East Region leaders were in the office and let me tell you, the ones who already knew me gave big hugs, and the ones who hadn’t met me yet rushed to shake my hands. Why? Because I wanted to do good work. And in doing good work for one leader, I could do good work for another, and another. If they needed help, I’d always offer. And they know that, which means that there are more and more opportunities to do great things.

3. You’re comfortable with uncertainty: In my first role, almost the entire team was dispersed across the country. We only got to know each other through phone and email. Part of our job was relying on each other. Because we had to communicate effectively, we ended up becoming a very close group. We even sent jokes to each other on Fridays. But in the same time our group grew strong, others failed. We all found a way to work through the complexity of our jobs in addition to not having any face-time to keep us going. This is important because the higher you go, the less clear things are.

4. You get face-time: I know I just said that if you can do your job without face-time, that’s great. When you volunteer for projects though, you eventually start being asked to be on other projects, and some with higher visibility and strategic importance. Which means you may have to fly somewhere for a meeting. Or people may fly to you. And you become more than just an email address to leaders in your organization.

During this, be sure that you are still doing your actual job (this doesn’t work if you can’t complete your everyday responsibilities). Also, discuss this with your boss, let them know where you’re spending extra time, and why you are passionate about these projects. Your boss may surprise you and begin throwing your name into the hat for some really high-profile stuff.

I know there are SO many other benefits out there. What benefits have you gotten from special projects at work?

The views expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Graphic courtesy of Clipart