A gofer is someone who is tasked with menial jobs in the workplace such as going to get the coffee or lunch for everyone in the office. Sometimes this title is reserved for interns and sometimes for new employees who are at the lowest level. If you have been labeled as the office gofer due to your newbie status, you can make this situation work to your benefit. It’s all about a mindset change and figuring out how to use your low status to your advantage. Take a look at some of the following ideas.
1. Change Your Mindset
The first step in this process is to change your mindset and make a decision of both acceptance and motivation to succeed. If you have cultivated a negative perspective about your situation, the low position you have and the menial tasks that are required of you, you’ll never take full advantage of your gofer status. Only by focusing on the positives—you have a job, you have an opportunity and you have the determination—will you be able to take full advantage of your status and blow everyone away by your excellent workplace performance. Then you’ll be able to climb the ladder.
Remember that those individuals in management who continually give you these menial tasks to complete are watching you. If they see an individual who has accepted their position and decided to succeed, (rather than wallow in negativity) that will begin to build their respect and trust in you as a valuable member of the team.
2. Break Free From the Mold
Once your mindset is realligned towards the positive factors of your position, you can begin to work on breaking free from the mold. In order to take full advantage of your position as a gofer, you need to break free from the stereotypes that management may have of your lower position. Basically, you need to show them that they are wrong and you are not only a gofer. Rather, you are a go-getter and will stop at nothing to get what you want.
Your actions will play an important part in breaking free from the mold. That means you need to have a pleasant and professional attitude, even when doing a menial task such as fetching the coffee and lunch order. If you must complain, vent to a friend outside the office when you’re not on company time. Don’t ever let the management see you complain and act negatively about your position. That is a surefire way to be continually held back from advancing in the company. Management promotes employees who can focus on positive goals and make every effort to push through any obstacle in their way to get there.
3. Observe Management
While you’re working on breaking free from the mold, take the time to be observant of the upper management. After all, your goal is to one day be one of the managers and have your own gofer to train (and treat in a respectable way). You will use your status as gofer to your full advantage when you realize that you have a lot to learn. When you focus on observing and learning from the right individuals in management, you have the potential to catapult your career towards success faster than you may have originally expected or ever dreamed possible.
You don’t necessarily need to take notes while interacting with these managers. However, you must be actively watching and listening so that you pick up on the small nuances and all the aspects of their behavior, both good and bad. Your purpose is to watch, learn and mimic the specific professional behavior that will bring you success. Focus on observing individuals in management who are diligent, focused on productivity and know how to cultivate a positive atmosphere in the workplace where team spirit thrives.
4. Start Actively Networking
Finally, you will make your experience as a gofer work to your advantage if you learn how to begin actively networking while you’re still a gofer. True, it may not seem like you are getting very far in this area and many times the management will wave you away as if you’re nothing. However, don’t lose heart. Keep persevering and accept the fact that success is not for the faint of heart. If you want something bad enough, you need to chase after it with all you’ve got.
Start learning all of your colleagues’ names, what they do and what part they play in the overall operation of the company. Be friendly and professional at all times. Make an effort to use these individuals’ names when speaking to them directly. You’ll need to have courage during this process to withstand the possible withering looks you may get or sneering expressions you’ll receive for being in the way. Show those individuals in management that you take your job seriously, and in time, they will begin to take you seriously as well.
Have you ever experienced being a gofer in your workplace? How did you stay confident and deal with the completion of menial tasks each day while trying to find your place in the company?