Why Quality Work Isn’t Enough to Get Ahead

Major career tips from Lifehacker.Com.


by Greg Hoy

When I was a young designer, I always asked other people how they got noticed for their work. The answer I most consistently received was “do good work.” Now, when people ask me the same question, I respond with the same answer. Good work always speaks for itself. It’s a self-promoting robot.

If you work in an agency or web department within an organization, let’s shift that perspective from promoting your work to being considered for a promotion. Doing good work is a smaller part of the equation. My experience has demonstrated that most of the great opportunities go to people with magical attitudes. Maintaining a great attitude is far from automatic. It takes real skill to keep it positive.

While we largely deal in a world of computer interactions, it’s the personal interactions you have with your colleagues, peers, and managers that truly shape your destiny. The amazing grid structure you implemented, the engaging presentation you gave, or the sleek JavaScript you wrote won’t stick in people’s minds as much as the time you praised someone for an amazing effort or (gasp) threw someone under the bus to make yourself shine.

For better or worse, I’ve been in the position to influence the professional growth and development of many talented people. My experience is that people who achieve the most success share one or more of these qualities, in no particular order:

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EDITED BY LB TO ADD: FWIW, I’ve found over the years that the road to success encompasses:

  1. Job excellence
  2. Obvious energy and dedication
  3. Treating superiors with respect
  4. Humility as you rise through the ranks

And remember, everything but the excellence can be faked…and often is. (And if you fake all that well enough you may not even need the excellence.)

There, now you’re good to go.