10 rules to break to get ahead in your career

Posted at 09/16/12 3:17 PM

Be successful in work, breaking one rule at a time...

If there’s one thing that all successful people have in common, it’s that they know when it’s important to break the rules. Do you think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates achieved all of that success by sitting on the sidelines abiding by the rules and twiddling their thumbs? No – they pushed boundaries and broke rules. If you want to get ahead of the crowd, it’s time to start ripping up that rule book and testing out these tips:

1.: “Climb the career ladder”

In today’s culture, there’s a large amount of pressure to earn lots of money and have an impressive title. This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea though. Sometimes we’re told to “climb the career ladder” so much that we spend most of our time tirelessly clambering up it only to lose sight of what we really want. Maybe you’re half way through climbing that career ladder and decide you want to hop off at the second rung to start up your own business? In cases like this, breaking the rules can be more beneficial than sticking to them; while the “climb the career ladder” rule is great for some people, before you spend all your energy climbing you should make sure it’s what you really want. If not, cast aside this cliché.

2. “‘I want’, never gets”

You know that age old saying that was always drilled into you when you were being cheeky – “‘I want’ never gets”? Well this is a rule that should often be broken when it comes to your career, so we’ve changed it to “‘I want’ often gets.” As long as you remain polite and professional, saying “I want to work on this project,” “I want to move up in the business,” or even “I want a pay rise,” can be beneficial in getting you ahead. If your boss doesn’t know what your hopes are for your job, how are they to know that something needs to change?

3. “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”

The toaster isn’t broken? Well of course, don’t fix it then. While this is a pretty obvious rule, it’s one that really should be broken if you want to get ahead in certain situations within your professional life. Fixing things that aren’t broken leads to thinking outside of the box and coming up with solutions to “problems” that aren’t really problems – queue the impressive creativity and successful achievements from there onwards. Take Steve Jobs, for example, he created products that no one needed and the world went crazy for them. The arena of technology wasn’t “broken” but he certainly went ahead and fixed it anyway.

4. “Spend more time in the office”

We’re constantly told to spend more time in the office if we want to do well, but this can be counterproductive. Not abiding by the “spend more time in the office and you’ll do better” rule can be pretty advantageous if you do it correctly. The truth is, spending more time in the office – which is often somewhat tense – can actually make us counterproductive. Some of our best ideas spring to mind when we’re tinkering about in the garage or relaxing on the sofa watching our favourite soap. Don’t be afraid to step away for a while.

5. “You can’t have it all”

Erm, who says you can’t have it all? This is a serious de-motivator and a rule that we really don’t agree with. If you’re passionate about what you want – within reason, of course – then don’t let this rule put you off. Sir Richard Branson is a shining example of breaking this boundary and being successful. If he had listened to this rule he’d have given up on that beautiful house, his sparkling career, his yacht and his loving family, not to mention the “Sir” that precedes his name. As long as your dreams are physically attainable, never give up once you’ve achieved your first, or second, or third...

6. “The grass isn’t greener on the other side”

This is another rule that we aren’t content with abiding by. If you’re unhappy in your career or your life in general, don’t sit back worrying about the consequences of making a change. Indeed, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side; you may change careers and realize you were better off as you were before. If you’re unhappy though, these are risks you may need to take in your quest to happiness. If you’re feeling unfulfilled in the first place, you probably don’t have much to lose so go ahead and hop over the fence to sample that grass on the other side. It may be greener, or it may be dull and brown, but at least you gave it your best shot and you can tick that option off your list to pursue something else.

7. “Only speak when spoken to”

Your voice defines the value that you bring to the work place so it’s really important to speak up when you have useful ideas or comments. The less you say, the more you allow others to define your identity. The opposite is also true, of course; if you’re too outspoken then you will most likely be judged for being cocky and too outspoken. However, the rule “only speak when spoken to” is definitely one to be broken in the work place. It’s important that you express your views in order to be taken seriously and not be bypassed by others. Who wants to blend in as part of that furniture? Not us!

8. “Live for the weekend”

If you only live for the weekend, there’s a high chance that you aren’t making the most of your life. After all, most of us only have a pitiable two days of weekend compared to the five days a week spent at work. Most people dread having to get up on a Monday morning – that’s normal. Who likes stressful Mondays after a relaxing couple of days off making the most of the finer parts of life? If you dislike most parts of your job and find yourself constantly wishing your time away though, it might be time to try a new career path.

9. “Never mix business with pleasure”

We don’t mean that you should walk into the office linking arms with your boss or high fiving the CEO of your company, but sometimes mixing business with pleasure is a good thing. You’re all going out for drinks? Perfect! Once you’ve seen your boss with a few drinks down their neck you realize they are normal after all. This tends to make you more comfortable around them in future which, in turn, urges you to put forward more ideas and work more effectively. Try mixing a little business with pleasure and see if it works for you.

10. “Keep your thoughts to yourself”

Got a business idea that you don’t want anyone else to steal? Yep, definitely a keeper – don’t share it with anyone else. Thought of a work-related idea that would benefit the company or your colleagues? This is a situation where you can throw the “keep your thoughts to yourself” rule out of the window. Never feel embarrassed to share your thoughts, or feel as though your ideas aren’t useful. What’s the worst that could happen? Your idea won’t be taken any further than the four walls you said it in, and so what? At least you’ve shown that you care for the company and have a desire to make a difference. Read more at www.realbuzz.com.