Welles: Go ahead, show off

Joe Calloway's new book offers 4 tips for playing your A-game at the office

Federal employees can show off at work and still have friends at the office, if they follow the advice of Joe Calloway, author of 'Work Like You're Showing Off!' Showing off means giving work your best shot. It's playing at the top of your game. 

And just as the book's subtitle states, you can find 'the joy, jazz and kick of being better tomorrow than you were today.' In other words, you can have fun by being good at something and succeeding.

If this advice sounds like management mumbo jumbo, it isn't. 'If you're not bringing the best you have to your work each day, why show up at all?' asks Calloway, a performance expert and author of popular business books.

The book is short, easy-to-read and full of useful advice, including these four tips for success at the office.

1. Be consistent.
The gold standard of success is consistency and reliability. The best show-off might be the quietest employee in the group. When you give that person an assignment, you don't have to wonder if the employee will complete it. It will be done every time.

2. Go ahead and take action.
Successful people don't let an idea stay on the table. They take it and run with it. Planning is fine, even essential. But you shouldn't get too caught up in the planning process or too attached to a plan because circumstances and priorities change. 'If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans,' Calloway wrote. 

3. Get stupid.
Go to work every day with new eyes, as if you were starting a new job. 'When we know how things are done, we have worked our way down to expert,' Calloway wrote. But if you go to work a little stupid, you don't assume that how we did it yesterday is the best way to do it today.  

4. Think inside the box.
Look at what you already do and try to do it better, even by 10 percent. For example, consider customers' expectations. What if you respond to someone's request more quickly than anyone else they deal with?

'Government has a real focus on serving customers, and the quality of relationships is critical,' Calloway wrote.

He also stresses the importance of finding a purpose greater than a job. For people working in government, that should be easy. Focusing on your agency's mission can help you answer the question of why you do what you do.

'Any person can create positive results by bringing the best that you are and best that you have to any situation,' Calloway wrote.

He believes people often get stuck in a rut at work and keep doing jobs they are good at without trying to take risks. 

'We are each responsible for our own success and for the quality of our work life,' Calloway wrote. 'It feels good to play the best game you've got. The organization will have recognition for that.'
Indeed, why wouldn't you show off?

Welles is a retired federal employee who has also worked in the private sector. She lives in Bethesda, Md., and writes about work life topics for Federal Computer Week. She can be reached at judywelles@1105govinfo.com.

About the Author

Judith Welles is a retired federal employee who has also worked in the private sector. She lives in Bethesda, Md.

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