How to Create a Better Job for Yourself

This might mean that you must learn to get creative…or think outside the box…but you can use your current job to provide yourself with free training and new skills to beef up your resume in order to get a pay raise or better career position, or simply to enhance your present workplace and your relationships with your coworkers.
Here are some of the ideas I have used to successfully create a better job for myself:
I became a notary public in just a few hours online, and I did it with my boss’s permission — on company time!  He even let me pay for it on the company credit card because it would be so useful to him to have a notary on the premises.

Pitch Your Boss
The point here is to try to think of an idea you can pitch to your boss that will help him or her or the company, and therefore make you a more valuable employee.   You will have more job security and confidence, management will love you, and you can grow your resume for the future.
My most recent pitch to my boss was not for myself.  I learned that a coworker who is also a friend has a small hobby/side business that requires a lot of social media, so she is very experienced in that field.  We pay our advertising company an astronomical amount of money to have them manage our social media in addition to running our website and designing our ads.  Their contract is up next month.
I talked to my boss and presented my idea to save the company tons of money by having one of our own employees take over the social media portion of the advertising contract for next year.  We could even give my coworker a nice pay raise, but it would be SO much less than we currently spend.   The company would come out MUCH better off financially, and so would my friend.
Believe it or not, being kind and offering to help others can also be an opportunity for you to create a better job for yourself at work.  Because I volunteered to do extra work filling in for someone on maternity leave so that her boss could cope, when she decided not to come back to work after having her baby, the position was given to me…with a pay raise!

Look for Training Opportunities
Another potential way to improve your career options is to sign up for any relevant training programs offered by your employer  You can also find out if they would pay for certifications or classes.  By taking advantage of any learning opportunities available, you can become a more valuable asset to your company while also growing and improving yourself and your capacity to earn more money in the future.
For example, I learned of a fabulous program in my state offered by Workplace Development.  I discovered it through an email sent by our local Chamber of Commerce.  It is a grant offered by the state to pay for employees’ continuing education or to improve or build job skills.
I presented it to my boss and told him I would do all the work involved if he would let me apply for the grant.  (Full disclosure: If I’d realized how much work would be involved in the grant process, I’m not sure I would have been so eager to volunteer for this project!)
With the grant, I am getting approval for over a dozen of my coworkers and myself to take classes on company time for two hours, twice a week.  With our new knowledge and skills, we will then be able to get pay raises, but the company will benefit financially as we apply the new knowledge and skills.
For example, our maintenance staff will learn more intensive plumbing, air conditioning and electrical skills.  They will be able to do more of the big jobs that usually require hiring outside contractors.  Therefore, even with giving the maintenance staff pay raises, the company will come out ahead by saving money spent on contracted services.  Win-win!
For myself, I am taking accounting and Quickbooks classes so I can cover for our bookkeeper when she goes on vacation, rather than having to wait for her return every time she takes a few days off.  Perhaps one day, I’ll even want to change my career from administrative assistant to accounting. In the meantime, I have a pretty good thing going with the present job I created for myself.

Frame Your Idea in Positive Way
The first time I asked my boss if he had a few minutes to talk to me, I felt him cringe as he assumed I was going to ask for a raise.  (There was no money in the budget for that.)  I learned to ask instead, “Do you have a few minutes so I can run an idea by you?”  Now when I approach with a big grin asking if he has time to talk about a new idea, my boss is eager to hear what I have to say.
Have you ever pitched a new or creative idea to your boss that changed your job or experience?  Please share your ideas or comments!

17 Things The Boss Should Never Say

1. "That Client Drives Me Nuts!"
We all experience crazy deadlines in a high-pressure environment. Passing along our feelings of stress to our staff can cause them to feel less motivated working for a particular client. Make sure they don't lose sight of the fact that every single client is equally important, even if you have an 80/20 portfolio.

2. I'm the Boss!
No one wants to work for an organization that doesn't respect their commitment level or humanity. If your co-workers wanted to take orders, they would have joined the army. Unless you are the military, avoid pulling rank. Every decision is a dialogue. Even if you do have the final say and aren't in full agreement (which is probable), don't make "I'm the boss" the ultimate reason for any decision.

3. "I'm Too Busy"
This statement is terse and shows a lack of empathy to the needs of your staff. It also makes your employees feel that what they are doing is not that important. Instead of telling them you're too busy, try asking them to come back at a specific time when you do have availability. This gives them confidence that they have your ear, your respect, and your sincere care about the work they are doing.

4. "What's the Latest Gossip?"
When you're running a company, you set the tone for the workplace culture. If you gossip about staff members, it tells your staff that it's okay to gossip, which ultimately sets up a toxic environment for team relationships. Leave the gossip at the door.

5. "What's Wrong With You?"
It's easy to get frustrated when your staff does something incorrectly but this question goes right to the heart of their competencies. It not only assumes that they have a fundamental flaw but it conveys that you've lost all trust in their abilities. It's only downhill from there.

6. "You're the Only One Having a Problem"
This will only isolate your employees. It will break your staff down and make them feel alone. I believe that a majority of the time, if you were to google a question or problem, you will find many others have similar issues and concerns, and are truly seeking an answer.

7. "I Don't Care About That"
You need to care about every aspect of your business -- small or large. If you let you staff know that you don't care about something, why should they? Treat every aspect of your business the same and your staff will have more pride in their work.

8. "Do What I Won't"
As business owners and bosses, we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Never ask an employee to do something you wouldn't do yourself. If I'm assigning a somewhat overwhelming or complicated task, I always make sure to offer myself as a helper or resource. Follow the guideline of leading by example. Get in the trenches with your employees if need be.

9. "Don't Argue With Me"
No boss should dissuade their staff from arguing or disagreeing with them. Sometimes you may be wrong, and it's important to get that insight from your staff. Hearing their thoughts and ideas is crucial to building a business.

10. "We've Always Done it This Way"
Just because something's been done a certain way for months or years doesn't mean that it's the best way to approach a problem. Empower your staff to think of new solutions. Openness breeds creativity, which in turn breeds innovation. And startups need all the innovation they can get, regardless of whether it comes from the CEO or an intern.

11. "Just Let Me Do It"
You can’t grow your company by doing everything yourself. If you feel you have to step in every time things get hard, your staff will never learn to be self-sufficient. Give everyone a chance to succeed and encourage management to do the same. You will build a stronger company.

12. "You're Doing Okay"
When an employee asks for feedback, never tell them they're doing an okay or fine job. Asking for feedback is a sign of potential; a desire to grow, change and get better. We typically have a good sense of what we're good at, but we don't always know what we can do better. Telling someone "you're doing fine" without giving the gift of improvement is a hugely missed opportunity.

13. "This is MY Company"
That may very well be true on paper, but you won't be much of a leader if you don't have any willing "followers." Being "in charge" is like being "cool" -- if you have to say you are, you're not.

14. "It's Your Problem"
Maintaining an attitude of shared responsibilities with your employees is important to order to create the best experience and generate the best work. If an employee knows you feel personally involved in all tasks, they view their own work as being a valued part of a larger effort.

15. "This is Just a Small Client / Sale"
Teaching your staff to treat the high-paying clients or the big sales differently than smaller ones is a huge mistake. This sets up your company not only for bad customer service but also for arguments amongst your staff over who gets to work on which accounts.

16. "We Just Need PR"
Although PR is important, the staff should always be working to improve the product. Placing the focus on only needing PR insinuates that the product is complete and success is out of everyone's control. Never make your staff feel like anything is out of their control.

17. "I Don't Care What You Think"
This sentence can end many different ways. It could be "I don't care what you think," or "I don't care if that's what XX does." Regardless of how the sentence ends, "I don't care" is a phrase that shuts down conversations rather than encouraging dialogue. It suggests you aren't open to considering others or their ideas. Exercising your role of power unnecessarily leads to a negative workplace.