Whether you’re the “alpha dog” in your office or a lone wolf slaving away at your terminal, there are a few lessons that you can learn from your dog that might help you get through the day without running away with your tail between your legs. No animals were hurt in the making of this post, but be warned – many, many plays on this idiom to follow.
Keep yourself clean and presentable
Don’t spend your whole day grooming, but take a bit of time to make sure you look presentable. Have some pride in your appearance and others will too. How you dress can really impact your career path. Even if you are working from home, try to make the effort to at least shower and get dressed before you head to the desk. You’ll feel better, and this will show in your work.
Don’t show fear to those that try to intimidate you
Stand up for yourself when it’s appropriate. Don’t let anyone disrespect you or denigrate your position in the company. Every position on the team is important – and ultimately an office bully can affect the workplace as a whole, not just you. This doesn’t mean you need to bare your teeth, or lunge and snap when you’re confronted. Just calmly mention to them that it’s not acceptable, and move on with your day. Sitting in the corner licking your wounds isn’t going to get your work done, so speak your piece and move on. Dogs live in “the now”, and so should you.
Don’t be aggressive to those you want to play with
If you choose to berate the people you work with, you can’t expect them to be your buddies after the work day has ended. Treat them with respect, and they’ll return the favour. Many of us spend more time with the people we work with than with our own family, so it’s a good practise to get along.
Run when you can
If you are given the opportunity to go in the direction that you want to go – take it. Take the chance to explore the areas that you find interesting, but make sure you pay attention to the cues from whoever usually holds your leash. Sometimes they’ve got a better perspective from their higher position, but they want you to grow, which is why they let you off your leash. This works the other way too, if it’s a safe environment for you to let someone off their leash, give them the chance, and help them learn to make the right decisions.
Nap when you can
If you have to rest, rest. You’re no good to your team if you are physically and mentally exhausted, so if you need a quick break, take it. A quick rest will allow you to get focused, get recharged, and get moving.
Enjoy every bite of everything
Take the time to savour the flavour of whatever you’re enjoying. Whether it’s a coffee and a doughnut or an especially great blog post on WorkAwesome (!) – enjoy it, finish it, and then get back to work. Treats are usually few and far between, so when one comes your way, make the most of it.
Hide a bone
Create your own rewards for achieving your goals. Push yourself to complete the task, and then reward yourself with a sweet treat or perhaps a quick stroll around the office. You set the goals, so you decide on the reward. Make it worth it and you’ll be amazed at how productive you are.
Be loyal to those that deserve it
If someone goes out of their way to treat you well, make sure you return the favour. This doesn’t mean constantly kissing butt; just be gracious to those that you enjoy working with, and show gratitude to those that make your job easier.
Enjoy a good scratch
When someone recognizes you for doing a good job, enjoy the moment. Accept the praise when it comes, and get back to work when it stops. You’ve probably heard the saying, “you get what you measure” so figure out what you earned the praise for, and then do it again.
Trust your instinct
If you get a feeling about something, good or bad, listen to your gut. Your experience and education are powerful influences on you, so if something triggers an emotional response in you, pay attention.
Know your place, but don’t be afraid to challenge authority
We all have our job to do, so try to focus on that instead of taking part in the office politics or drama of the week. But, if you know something is wrong, speak up. No one wants to hear “I knew it was a bad idea at the time – but no one wanted to listen to me!” You are an expert in your role, so present your case logically, and discuss the situation.
Don’t, er… you know, where you eat
If you aren’t happy with your current situation, don’t waste your time wimping and whining about it. Trash-talking your job, your boss, or your role in the company is a sure fire way to lose the respect of those around you. If you don’t like where you are in life, you have to change – remember that old dogs can learn new tricks.
A solid work ethic is just one of the reasons why dogs are a man’s best friend, and we can learn a lot from them.
Heck, if it weren’t for the whole “getting fixed” aspect of it, it’d be a pretty great gig.
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