After busting your butt in college, getting the grade and graduating at the top of your class, you expect your hard work to pay off. You don’t want any job, you want a job where you can advance and utilize your skills. Unfortunately, getting to the top at work might be difficult if your employer and coworkers don’t take you seriously. As a matter of fact, not being taken seriously can stall your career, kill your motivation and impact your productivity.
If your coworkers and employer don’t take you seriously, you might argue that you’re being targeted or treated unfairly. But if you assess the situation from their point of view, the fact that you’re not being taken seriously might have a lot to do with your behavior and attitude.
Do you want to get to the top faster? Here’s what you can do to be taken more seriously at work.
1. Don't Talk Just to Hear Yourself Speak
If you want your employer and coworkers to take you seriously, you have to know what you’re talking about every time you open your mouth.
Some people talk just to hear themselves speak. In their minds, the more words they use, the smarter they sound. This thinking, however, can backfire. If you’re unable to articulate yourself clearly and if you ramble on and on about nothing, others might not understand what you’re trying to convey. People aren’t stupid and can usually detect when someone uses a lot of fluff in an attempt to make themselves sound intelligent or knowledgeable.
Faking it until you make it might work in some situations, but not necessarily in the workplace. If you don’t have anything useful to contribute, or if you don’t have much knowledge in a particular area, it might be best to remain quiet, or else you’ll develop a reputation of speaking without thinking.
2. Know What's Happening in the World
Not only should you know what’s happening with your job, you should expand your horizons and know what’s going on in the world. Chances are your coworkers will discuss other topics throughout the day like current events. You don’t have to be a walking encyclopaedia on every single topic under the sun, but you should have basic knowledge in a few areas, this way you can contribute to conversations and express your opinions and views. If you live in a bubble and are oblivious to anything happening in the world, you can’t expect others to take your seriously.
3. Stop Trying to Be the Funny Guy
You should be comfortable around your coworkers. You’ll spend 40 or 50 hours a week with these people, so having a good relationship can make the workday more enjoyable. But while it’s okay to crack a joke or tell a funny story, don’t develop a reputation of being the office clown or funny guy.
Your coworkers might laugh at your silliness, but at the end of the day, you want to be viewed as a competent, professional, not a goofy person who’s only good for a few laughs. Recognize that you’re at work, not hanging out with your friends, so don’t go overboard with the jokes, pranks and wisecracks.
Your employer may think you’re competent and a good worker. However, he might hold back promoting you or sending you out to represent the company if he’s not 100% confident of your ability to be professional at all times.
4. Keep Private Matters Private
If you want to be taken seriously at work, limit how much information you share with your coworkers. This doesn’t mean you have to be a secretive person, but it is important to keep your private matters private. For example, if you have a mountain of credit card debt or you’re late on your bills and creditors are calling every day, this isn’t the type of information to share with your coworkers.
By offering too many details about your personal relationships and financial matters, employers and coworkers might form a negative opinion about you. And even though these matters might have nothing to do with work, it can affect whether you’re taken seriously.
5. Don't Befriend Coworkers on Social Media
There’s nothing wrong with befriending your coworkers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. But if you’re a party animal who likes to go out on the weekends and have a wild time with your friends, it might be best to keep your employer and coworkers off your social media accounts. There are ways to customize the privacy settings on your social media profile so others can’t find your name in a search. This way, you can have a profile without worrying about a coworker or employer finding you and sending a friend request. It might seem unfair, but what you do after hours and on the weekends can affect others’ opinion of you. Even if you arrive to work Monday morning sober and ready to get the week started, some might judge your competence level based on what they see online.
6. Don't Treat Your Office Like Your Bedroom
If you’re a slob at home who never cleans his bedroom and leaves junk lying all over the place, that’s your business. Don’t bring your bad habits to the workplace. This doesn’t mean your office space has to be squeaky clean at all times, but it shouldn’t look like a disaster zone.
7. Speak with Conviction
It’s important to be confident and speak with conviction at work. At times, you will need to ask your boss or a coworker a question, and you might need clarification to make sure you’re completing an assignment properly. But if you get into a routine of always second guessing yourself, or if you appear nervous and anxious whenever you have to speak with a coworker about a matter, others might conclude that you’re unsure of yourself, or that you don’t have what it takes to handle the job.
Your speech, facial expressions and body language says a lot about your confidence level. Watch how you communicate and make sure your statements don’t sound like questions. Maintain good eye contact when communicating with those you work with, and if you have social anxiety, take a few deep breaths and practice what you want to say before approaching your employer or a coworker.
8. Tough Up
Work isn’t always going to go smoothly. Your boss might be a monster who’s never satisfied, and some of your coworkers might be unappreciative and expect too much from you. Few people work under ideal conditions, so most people can relate to these struggles. To survive in the workplace, you have to develop a tough skin. Understand that whining, chronic complaining and crying aren’t going to get you far, and these behaviors definitely won’t impress your employer.
It doesn’t matter how bad of a day you’re having, don’t let them see you sweat. The stronger you become, the easier it’ll be to deal with challenging situations. And if you can get through the hardest days without cracking under the pressure, this proves you have what it takes to handle the job. Your boss will notice, and he’ll have no choice but to take you seriously.
Your actions, attitude and behavior greatly influence how others view you. If you want to be taken seriously in the workplace, you have to act the part and leave child-like behavior at the door.