If all it took to succeed at the workplace was to arrive on time and do everything that your job description says you should, then moving up the career ladder would be fairly easy. It isn’t though and too many people end up stuck in a rut for decades and cannot seem to make much headway. To have a successful career and be a cut above your peers, versatility is vital.
You should not only be good at the thing you were hired to do but should have a diversity of skills that make you a valuable member of the team and an asset to the organization’s management.
No one is a versatile employee by birth. You have to come out of your comfort zone and be prepared to do what it takes to be the person every employer wants working for them. What you do at the workplace is important but what you do outside it is just as relevant. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do outside the office that can make you a much sought after worker.
Take the Road Less Traveled
In a work environment where the only thing that’s constant is change, adaptability is a trait every employee needs. Travel is a powerful way to learn how to get comfortable with unfamiliar environments and sharpen your ability to think on your feet. In fact, some employers consider a job applicant’s travel experience when hiring for non-travel related positions.
Of course, not all travel is created equal. You don’t extend your versatility in the same way when you visit a different city in your own country as you do when you travel to a different culture halfway around the world. The greater the differences between your host environment and your home environment, the better it is for purposes of stretching your adaptability.
Spending most of your time indoors in a hotel room will not cut it though. You have to go out there, immerse yourself in the culture and interact with the locals.
Keep Up with the Latest News
Keeping tabs on current events can give you a healthy supply of topics for water cooler conversation and for ice-breakers during business meetings. You shouldn’t only follow local news; national and global news is often better at expanding your insights and positioning you as a person that is keen on learning new things.
News can make you more knowledgeable about different cultures and give you a frame of reference to make better workplace decisions.
That being said, some topics are too contentious and should be off limits. Politics and religion in particular are sensitive subjects that can create unnecessary strain between you and your colleagues or customers. Local news can do this too since there’s a chance that your colleague or customer has a vested interest so your personal view on the matter may be viewed negatively.
Don’t Stop Learning
Most of us will remember our time in college as a fun and memorable phase of our life. But often, that’s because of the exciting things that took place outside the walls of the classrooms. The reading itself is not something many college students think of fondly. Little wonder many of us say goodbye to all learning immediately after we graduate.
If you want to be a valuable employee, you have to adopt the mindset of a student. That doesn’t mean spending a lifetime of sleepless nights studying complex theories. You can grow your knowledge in more relaxed ways.
Like joining a professional association, attending industry exhibitions, subscribing to an industry magazine, working as a volunteer, signing up for an online course or enrolling for informal classes at your local community college. For example, if you are an IT professional, you could use the Internet to read more on how to use a leading server management tool.
Career progression is never by accident. Becoming a versatile employee will increase your odds of becoming more successful at the workplace.