You’re likely to get ridiculed at work if your wardrobe is consistently mismatched. But while the clash of checks and stripes may hinder your career, other mismatches can be much more damaging.
For example, you may have expectations about your job responsibility, performance, career aspirations, or values and principles, and when those are mismatched with your peers or bosses, they can be potentially fatal to your career.
Here are some ways to make sure your career insights and goals are aligned, even if your socks are not:
Know thyself. You have a set of values and principles that are important to you. You may not be able to articulate them well to others but you certainly know when they’re violated. Even your work ethic, if mismatched with the corporate culture, can cause you to not succeed or to get frustrated with the company. So write down your core values and find out what the company defines as theirs. If your company values aren’t written anywhere, ask HR or your boss for insight. Once you find what they are, look for where they converge with your values. This is always a great idea during your job search and before you join a company.
Get on the same career path. Both you and your boss should have the same idea of what you want your career path to be. If you don’t, then ask: “Where do you and the company see me in the next three, five, or 10 years?” Being on the same page here will help both you and the company.
Know where you stand. No one should work a month, a day, or an hour without knowing where their performance stands in the eyes of the company and their boss. If you don’t know how you’re performing against the standards of your boss, then you need to find out. Your career is too short to waste being misaligned on your performance goals.
Understand how others perceive you. We all have a self-perception of how others think of us. Most have inflated views or at least perceptions that are a little askew. Your ability to perform at the highest level and have others have your back depends mainly on a succinct perception of how others view you. If you think you’re liked and respected but aren’t, then you won’t be around for long.
When I was in second grade, my Mother told me, “Rusty, tomorrow will go a lot easier if you lay out your clothes the night before.” She was right, and it gave me time to make sure I matched. The same could be said about the matches in our career. Now is the time to find the matches and mismatches so that tomorrow will go smoothly.
Rusty Rueff, director and career expert for jobs and career website Glassdoor.com has been a CEO, led HR in global companies and is co-author of Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business.
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