Don’t Just Be Good, Be Known

Back in the day when I was just starting to work my way up the business ladder, it was my policy to give my boss more than he had a right to expect. Maybe more important, I made it a point to let him know whenever I did something good.

If you aren’t doing that, maybe you should. You don’t have to be a boastful, self-aggrandizing SOB to get the word out. You need only be brave enough to start a conversation.

The fastest way to establish a companywide reputation as an up-and-comer is to get involved in the pet projects of senior people.

If you don’t already know what those projects are, you can find out by asking. Ask your boss. Ask your boss’s colleagues. Ask your company’s CEO or CFO.

Identify several problems that they’re trying to solve and choose one that you’d be interested in working on. Present yourself to the person in charge of dealing with that problem and offer to help in any way possible. Don’t be pushy. But be enthusiastic. And obliging, almost servile.

You need two or three big feathers in your cap. You’ll get one feather for each such voluntary effort.

One caveat: Try never to claim more credit than is due. In fact, try not to brag about your efforts at all. You can get the word out merely by talking about them to the people who count. Ask for their opinions. Share ideas that might be helpful to them. Get into the mix. Let the key people know how good you are without seeming to want them to know.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]