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Ms. Hackers: First Place Winner

The following post is written by Varsha Suresh. She is the first place winner of the Ms. Hackers content writer challenge.

Do you want to be an AMAZING employee? Here’s the magic sauce.


Today, I’ll show you how to be an amazing employee. Yeah, I know, I know. You are a ninja coder. You are a badass bug exterminator. You are the smoothest operator. But is that enough? Nope. Sorry. It’s not enough. Sigh.


You complete all your work extremely well. You are excellent at your work. Shouldn’t that be enough? I’m really sorry. But it’s not enough. I’m afraid you need to do better than that to be amazing at work. Let me tell you why.


Humans tend to move away from pain and towards pleasure. It is a fact of biology. People tend to promote, recommend, and work with other nice people. Nice people who make their work go nicely. See my point? You must make their work go nicely. That’s how you become a nice employee. And when you get really good at that, they shall call you an amazing employee.


Welcome to the world of human colleagues. Where people remember you ­ the good, the bad, and the ugly details. They might forget some facts, but they will always remember how you made them feel. The good news: this is the key to fixing this ‘amazing employee’ mystery.


If you will only take one point away from this blog, I hope it is this: Be the amazing employee you want to work with.


But how do you go about achieving that feat? I cannot teach you how to be a good person. Sorry, that’s out of the scope of this blog. But I can try to show you how you can leverage your human goodness in being an awesome employee. Ready? Alrite, let’s get cracking!



Learn to manage up.

Your managers perhaps have the most influence on your career advancement. It is important to have a good relationship with them. Managing up means making it easy for your manager to manage you.


Try to understand your manager’s work methods. And then learn to adapt yourself to it. You don’t have to bend over backwards or change yourself to please your bosses. You are just making it easy for them to manage you.


Is your manager an analytical person? Provide her more data. Does your manager prefer face-­to-­face communication? Arrange regular meetings with him. Or just catch up over coffee for an informal update if that is his style.


You will already know your manager’s requirements. But do you also know her goals and aspirations? What about her ethics? Do you know what the end game is? Help her achieve it. Your manager will not forget it.


Manage yourself.


Imagine never having to worry about someone’s work. You just know that the work will be done. You don’t have to keep tabs. You don’t have to give detailed instructions. You don’t have to be concerned about quality. Nor timeliness. You just don’t have to worry. You know that it will all be fine.

Now imagine making your boss feel like that about you. It gives your boss one less person to manage. Who wouldn’t love you?


Be passionate.


Be passionate about your work. And flaunt it. Flaunt your passion. Teach it. Write about it. Talk about it. Take every opportunity to show your passion.


And why is this important? If you are passionate about your work, you will (almost always) be excellent at it. At the least, you will avoid the Dunning-­Kruger effect.You will never be mediocre in your field.


Do you know what follows passion for work? You’ll start being called an authority in your field. And what comes of that? Sweet, sweet career advancement!


Play well with others.


Be there for your teammates. Have their back. Cover for them. Nurse them through difficult times. Show tough love if you really must. Laugh with them during good and bad times. Even at the lame jokes about the boss.


Offer to help during a time crunch. It’s okay, you can miss sitting through traffic for one day. Just download another torrent while you help your colleague. Empathise with them. Be a good trench brother or sister. Esprit de corps.


Teams that stand together work really well together. The bonhomie translates into excellent productivity for you and your team. Management will have to notice.


Change quickly.


Change is the only constant. We all know that. But how well do you change with the change? Not very well? Do try to learn it quickly. Or become a dodo. Being adaptable is a very important trait for employers. Companies have to change tack constantly to meet global demands. If you can’t adapt well with them, it is just not good enough for them. Go pivot crazy or go home.


Know yourself.


Do you really understand yourself? Yes? Excellent! Now you can go on to be a very good employee. I’m not joking. Think of it this way: Your thoughts are like processing threads in

your brain. Your internal struggles are memory intensive processing threads. If your brain is busy processing your internal struggles, how will you process that niggling API issue?


The point is to be at peace with yourself. Or at least acknowledge the issues you have. Remember: Denial requires a lot of processing threads to hide the issues in your brain.


Rise above office drama.


The top most reason for workplace conflict: Office politics. Eeek. Horrible. Some people are the worst! But you know better than that, don’t you? You do not get involved in petty office politics. You rise above such things. You are a safe port in a sea storm. You are a voice of reason. You are like Switzerland at work. You also have a halo and you are not real. Duh.


You can never escape from office politics. Never. Resistance is futile. If you disagree, you are a liar. Plain and simple. Just plain liar. However, there is one thing you can do. You can try to minimise your involvement in the office games. Consciously avoid taking sides. Reserve judgement. Be fair. Empathise. It’s not easy. But it is certainly better than being the office Shakuni Mama.


With time, your involvement may become minimal. You may even book a flight to Switzerland. For a short while. Your port may be seen on the horizon in the storm. You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. *sniffs* Excuse me. (Ahem. If you really have minimum office politics, please link me to your company’s job offers. I know many people whose receding hairlines will thank you.)


More magic sauce?


Needless to say, these are not the only secrets to office nirvana. These are just the most obvious ones that a lot of people tend to miss. I’m sure you have your own magic sauce. Tell us about the time you were rightly recognised as an amazing employee ­ and what your magic sauce was. As the old saying goes… err… the magic only increases with sharing it!


Uhm…alrite, fine, it’s not any old saying. But I really want you to share your magic sauce. Or someone else’s. Just… err.. increase the magic. Comment below, please. 🙂


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Bharat Ramakrishna

Blogger. Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.