In the early 1900s, a U.S. industrialist named Henry Kaiser was making money left and right and amassing an incredible amount of success and wealth while also securing a reputation as being relatively friendly to workers and labor interests. One quote attributed to him is the comment, “when you’re work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”
It’s true that interrupting isn’t polite and generally isn’t a good idea. However, it is a serious mistake for women in the workplace to assume that their hard work will speak for itself. It won’t. In most workplaces, it is important to make sure that your efforts are being acknowledged, framed in the context of how what you’ve done helps the business, and documented.
Of course, selling yourself and your accomplishments to your employer can seem awkward, self-aggrandizing, pushy or tone-deaf. There are better and worse ways to do it. A few tips for non-offensive promotion include:
All of these steps do require more time than simply mentioning to your boss about the new sale you just landed, the angry client you calmed down, the record you set for serving the most number of tables in a shift, or the project you completed under budget. However, that extra time can significantly increase your employer’s willingness to pay attention to what it is you’ve accomplished and likelihood of rewarding you for that hard work. And that, after all, is the whole point.
* Lady Lawyer Lessons is a monthly column where Kate K shares tips she wishes her clients knew before they came to her (or any other lawyer) for help or advice. As always, this is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Instead, these are just some of Kate’s “rules of the employment road” that are often a good idea but may not apply in a particular situation.
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