Flotsam: Anything floating about on the water that has no intelligent control of itself or its direction.

I’ve heard a lot of excuses from people for not being in charge of their own lives. There are a few legitimate excuses, no doubt, but most of those are only short-term hindrances. Being angry, upset, or frustrated about your situation and taking your troubles out on others doesn’t solve anything, it simply creates more problems.

I had a coworker once, who complained that he wasn’t “getting ahead” and that he was treated unfairly due to prejudice or racism or somesuch. I recommended that if he couldn’t get a fair shake in his current workplace, that he could get a job elsewhere. It isn’t as if all people or workplaces are the same. Another option would have been to go to HR, if he had a legitimate (provable) case.

Heads-up people, you might get one promotion or pay raise by pulling the race card or the prejudice card, but without solid proof… In the long run, it will taint your reputation and can cause you to be overlooked for any future such prizes.

Unfortunately, not getting ahead in your job can often be attributed to not knowing the correct path to receive recognition for your honest day’s work. People often feel that if they do their jobs and keep their heads down, that such honest endeavors should be enough to get that pay raise or promotion. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.

Promotions often come from increased education, skills, or responsibilities. Fortunately, there are numerous methods for increasing your education. This includes some free avenues, such as w3schools.com. Certification for the free education isn’t cheap, but if you can prove your skills to your supervisors, certification “Should Not” be necessary. Please keep in mind, that could’a, should’a, would’a doesn’t solve problems. Get the certifications, diplomas, what-have-you, as soon as you can, because given two people with equal skills, those certifications can make the difference.

Unfortunately, supervisors seldom keep track of their employee’s efforts well enough to properly evaluate their workplace habits. I’ve seen few supervisors who were even aware of slackers unless they were reported or they became completely egregious. The old saw, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is important to this topic; because, without documentation that states what training you’ve done and what accomplishments you have to your name to remind your supervisor of your deeds, you will be far less likely to get that raise or promotion that you want.

And before you go about sabotaging your coworkers, please realize that if your workgroup is doing poorly, you are doing poorly. If your coworker isn’t doing something correctly; training them, telling them they need to ask for the training, or letting your supervisor know that training is necessary (delicately) will improve their work and thus your workgroup’s work. If you do this, make sure to add it to your documentation.

Here’s another old saw for you, “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team,” by John C. Maxwell. Most people only quote the first part, but the whole thing is important to know.

If your workplace provides training information on how to make or meet job-related goals for your evaluations, I highly recommend that you jump on that info and memorize it like it matters… Because it does. Ask, don’t rely on others to know you want the info or training.

The writing of this article was inspired by a couple co-workers from a conversation about training for job-related goals.