Your relationship with your boss can make your break your learnership. It’s simple. If you don’t work well together or lack a respectable camaraderie, you will have a hard time getting through the experience, and your work may ultimately suffer. If you stay on his or her good side, you will be able to get the most out of your time.
Make a lasting impression on your boss by following these 5 simple rules:
Always Meet Or Beat Your Deadlines
A job done on time is a job well done. You may be assigned tasks that take you far less time than you were given. That’s normal, particularly at the beginning of your learnership as your boss gauges how much work you can handle. Rather than milking the time, get the work done in a reasonable fashion. If you finish ahead of schedule, make a point to ask what else you may be able to help with rather than slinking back to your desk and waiting to be told what is next on the agenda. Your boss probably has a long to-do list that he’d be thrilled to share.
It probably doesn’t need to be said that meeting deadlines is a major part of any kind of job. It’s like school: you get an assignment that must be completed by a certain date. But in the professional world, many other people rely on said assignment being done on time. It isn’t just about you and your grades anymore. Often, another person or people cannot complete their part of a project until you complete yours. In terms of a learnership, that person is likely your boss, and keeping him or her happy is meeting your deadlines.
Demonstrate Your Enthusiasm To Learn About THEM
Let’s be honest: everyone likes to have their butt kissed and their egos boosted every now and then. Show your boss that you are eager to learn about them and from them, specifically. After all, it is a learnership. If you have spare blocks of time between tasks, ask if you can shadow them on their meetings and day-to-day goings on. Express your interest in seeing how they operate to better prepare yourself for a future in a similar role. Chances are they will be flattered that you want to see what their world is like, and happy to show you the ropes. Don’t forget to take notes!
When it’s all over, thank them for being a role model, for taking you under their wing, for teaching you, and for helping you prepare for something much bigger. They will keep you in mind down the line.
Be Hands-On & Speak Up
As mentioned previously, there will be times when you finish your work ahead of time. There may even be times when you feel like you are doing more sitting around than you are actual work. It’s OK to speak up! You are there to learn, and your employer is there to teach you as per your learnership agreement. Your boss may find themselves so wrapped up in their own work that they forget to divvy out the responsibilities.
Rather than sitting on idle, ask them what you can do to help. You may even take notice of the to-dos that they have and say, “hey, I can take XY or Z off your hands if you are comfortable with me working on them.” Or, perhaps there is a table of neglected files that need to be put away; organization may not be a bullet point on your job description but taking care of it will definitely be a brownie point to your boss. Successful people are proactive and don’t wait to be told what to do.
Network But Don’t Be Clique-y
If you follow this blog, you know that networking is an important part of the learnership experience. The people you meet on the job can be extremely beneficial to your career in the future. Concurrently, they often become close acquaintances and friends, as you spend 8+ hours a day together. You work together, take breaks together, eat lunch together, see each other’s highs, see each other’s lows etc.
However, it is important to note that there is a fine line when it comes to appropriate socializing in the workplace. Make friends of your colleagues, but keep the gossip and casual conversation to a minimum while at the workplace. It is easy to get absorbed in conversations about the stresses of work, or what’s going on in your peers’ lives. And let me tell you, your boss will not be a fan.
“Did you hear [BOSS] chewing out Paul? I’m willing to bet he’ll be fired within the month.”
“If Susan keeps submitting sub-par work I am going to go crazy. She’s so underqualified for her job, I don’t know how she was even hired.”
“Word on the street is that Adam and his wife are headed to marriage counseling. They’ve been on the brink of divorce for months.”
NO. AND NO. Do not participate in these conversations! Getting clique-y and personal is a surefire way to land on the not-so-good portion of your boss’ radar.
Time Is Of The Essence
This one is easy and a no brainer. BE ON TIME. It may be hard to believe but professionals and learners alike abuse their bosses’ flexibility when it comes to their hours. Don’t be one of those people because it does stick out. Arrive early, not moments before you are supposed to be there. Traffic happens, weather happens, life happens – don’t risk cutting it close. Give yourself enough room for the unexpected. At the end of the work day, stay as long as you need to finish your work rather than booking it out of the office as soon as the clock hits your official departure time. People (especially your superiors) DO take notice of who simply gets the job done and who goes above and beyond.
When all is said and done, this experience is meant to set the groundwork for your future. Maintaining a positive and healthy relationship with your boss will improve your experience overall.