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Go the Extra Mile, Even Without the Extra Dollar

Categories: Professional Development

An interesting article in the Huff Post caught my eye the other day: McDonald's Orders Friendly Service After Customer Complaints Rise.

The gist of the article is exactly as stated in the title. The burger mega-franchise has been getting complaints about surly employees and low rankings for its customer service in industry reports, and they want their employees to step up their game.

As expected, comments were many and outspoken. Some managed to blame the situation on the economy, on President Obama, and of course -- no surprise here -- most were firmly against the fast-food giant and its wage policies. These folks insisted that if good old "Mickey D's" paid a bit more, they’d attract a higher quality of employee.

Do you agree with this line of reasoning?

I thought these comments were completely missing the point. In fact, when it comes to blame and finger pointing, I think those who do it are always missing the point.

After all, do you have to be paid a certain amount to do your job with grace and good cheer, and if so, what is that amount?

Must minimum wage equal shoddy work and a bad attitude? If you are not happy with your employer, your salary, or your duties, does that provide an excuse to take it out on your customers?

What ever happened to the concept of a personal “work ethic” and personal accountability?

Now, don’t get me wrong. This post is not about McDonald's, the restaurant chain's compensation, their employees, or any of their perceived "faults."

Instead, I want to make a case for exemplary work and a great attitude, regardless of your position or your salary.

This is even more important if you hope to rise to the top of the corporate food chain, shatter a glass ceiling or two, and receive the recognition and compensation you feel you deserve.

What can you do to stand out at work right from your cubicle, and put yourself squarely on the fast track to meeting (or exceeding) your career goals?

I’ve got six tried-and-true suggestions:

  1. If you don't already have one, get a degree. They’re still worth money in today’s corporate world. Consider taking college classes online or at a local community college to pursue that valuable piece of paper. And let higher-ups know!
  2. Take advantage of any development opportunities that your firm offers.
  3. Become familiar with the contents of your firm’s annual report, and everything on the website. The more you know ...
  4. Subscribe to trade journals and magazines for your industry, and actually read them! If you think they’re dull, well you might just be in the wrong field, but that’s a blog post for another day.
  5. Find a mentor. Little secret: a good, caring mentor who is already successful in your field is worth his or her weight in gold.
  6. Participate in trade organizations, and take advantage of opportunities to write, speak or otherwise develop your leadership potential.

To move ahead, you need to be focused, willing to take risks, and willing to go the extra mile -- with or without the extra dollar.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.

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