Text © Robert Barry Francos / FFanzeen, 2018
Images from the Internet
For most people, employment is a job: something to do to get money to pay for the things one likes to do in the personal sphere; unlike the “Seinfeld” episode, world do not collide. This, of course, can be a mistake in the larger picture.
The more of yourself one bring to a job, not only the more experience be more enjoyable, but the more enthusiasm and positivity the employers will see in you. Here are some examples from my own life.
In just about every job I’ve had, I have managed to bring along my photography with me, though it’s never been part of my job description. Company functions such as big and small events and parties, be it for the whole organization or just for the Department, are the perfect places to take some pictures of your co-workers having fun. The trick is to share it with the group on the company’s intranet. This is especially easy now with digital pictures.
Have them posted on a bulletin board somewhere, put them into a collage or PowerPoint slide show, or merely put the photos in a folder to which everyone has access, and you’ll find yourself possibly invited to events outside your own group. Everyone in the company knows who I am, and sees me in a positive light, especially the management. I started doing this as a tool to help me remember everybody, but it has definitely blossomed. Again, it’s never been part of my position’s job description, but it certainly gets mentioned as a plus on nearly every performance evaluation.
Another example is my experience in PowerPoint. I worked for a major corporation for many years designing slideshows for presentations. When I started working at another position, I noticed that the new company’s informational program slides were inconsistent or not appealing to the eye (too much text, not big enough, inconsistences in style). I pointed this out to my supervisor a few times in a very gentle way, and over time, more slideshows started pass through my hands before reaching the public. Again, these program slides are not in my job purview, but they are in my knowledge wheelhouse, as it were. Now I have made myself more valuable to the company. Yes, it’s a bit more work that I have made for myself, but the outcome is extremely positive to the job, and my evaluations.
When I was hired for a particular position, I volunteered to supply a blog once a month to the local corporate website that relies more on what the company does as a whole, rather than just what my job entails. Most blogs, especially ones for a major company, tend not to be more than 100 words, which is just a few paragraphs. About three times a year, I wrote four at a time, and then posted them on the company blogsite with a time setting. Again, this is not something that is on my job description, and it also makes a bit more work for me, but I truly enjoy it and I’m getting paid to do research on the Internet about topics that I find interesting.
Even my love of obscure music has made its presence felt in a positive light. For example, at one place I worked they had an annual Christmas party, and somewhere during the event there was a contest: people were broken into groups and then a supervisor in another department would play a Christmas song, and whichever group knew who had performed it, they won points. I helped the person in charge organize his song list by providing some material he was unfamiliar with, such as the Ramones’ “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” and Jona Lewie’s “Stop the Cavalry.” This made my co-worker’s life easier, and he spoke positively about me to my own supervisor. Also, it was fun for me, and again, raised my value in the corporate management side of the company beyond my own section.
The point is, I have taken steps to make myself more valuable to a company by expanding my role beyond what is expected of me, which fits into the “Going Beyond” section of yearly evaluations, but I’m also doing something that I find fun, which does nothing but add value. By doing this extra work beyond my scope, it also keeps the job from becoming stale and feeling like I’m in a rut. It’s a definite win-win situation for all involved.