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Ten Tips for Excelling at Work, Part 1

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Tina

Authored by Tina Kapp

An internship is an exchange of services for experience between a student and an organization. Wikipedia explains: “Students can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts or gain school credit.”1

Now, you may not necessarily ever work as an intern, but at some point you may have a summer job or other part-time work for the purpose of gaining life experience, or to make money, before actually joining the workforce in whatever long-term career you choose.

In many cases, the hardest working, the most focused, and generally those who are good at their job will be the ones who get and keep a job, as well as gain promotions and more responsibility, which usually equals better benefits.

In the Bible, God’s children had all sorts of jobs, and a lot of them learned valuable lessons from the various things they did, whether it was being a shepherd of a flock or the personal advisor to a king.

So here are the first five tips for keeping and excelling in your job or internship, which I gathered from young people’s personal experience:

1. Volunteer for everything.

Like the old folk tale of The Little Red Hen. She wanted to bake a loaf of bread, so she asked the animals in the barnyard to help her gather the wheat, but everyone was suddenly too busy and unavailable, so she did it herself. Later, she asked who would help her grind the wheat into flour, but everyone was too busy. Then she asked who could help her sift the flour and mix the ingredients; again everyone was too busy to help. After requesting help several times, she ended up doing all the work herself, until out of the oven came a perfectly warm, fluffy loaf of bread. She then asked who wanted to help her eat it, and, of course, all the animals were at the door. “Oh no, you don’t,” she replied. “If I had to do the work myself, I will eat it by myself.”

If the boss knows he can count on you to take the extra step when the need arises, he’ll learn that you are reliable and he won’t worry that you’ll neglect something that needs to be done. Showing responsibility and initiative go a long way in gaining trust and being given even more responsibility.

One great example of this in the Bible is when David volunteered to fight the giant Goliath, which saved the day and led him to find favor with King Saul. Another example is when Isaiah volunteered to be a messenger for God when he said, “Here am I. Send me!”2 and became a major figure in the Old Testament.

2. Get the details right.

Opal, who was an intern at MSNBC, said, “Always (double-check) your emails and be sure to spell—and say!—everyone’s names right. You don’t want to be seen as careless or clueless.”

Attention to detail says a lot about a person. If you can’t be bothered to spell a word correctly or get your facts right, chances are those hiring you will assume you can’t be bothered to get other things right either. The apostle Luke agreed, saying, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.3

Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin business empire, said, “The only difference between merely satisfactory delivery and great delivery is attention to detail.”4 Author and media expert Michael Levine also writes about how constant attention to detail demonstrates corporate competence.5 It’s comforting to know a company pays attention to details, as then you can know they will take care of your needs properly and not overlook anything important.

Perhaps if you go into a restaurant’s bathroom and find it dirty, it might make you worry that the kitchen is not very clean either, and you may decide to eat somewhere else instead.

What if it was just someone who did a sloppy job that day? It would still have a bad effect on the whole business’ reputation.

Regardless of what task you’re given to do, your personal attention to detail will show that people can rely on you to get things done correctly and that you’ll go the extra mile to do it right. That makes for a valuable employee or intern, who will more likely be given bigger opportunities in the future.

Proverbs says, “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.”6

3. Avoid gossip.

Paul warned the Ephesians, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”7

I think that’s great advice. Gossiping may seem innocent, but words have a way of coming back to bite you. If you wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, it’s probably not a good idea to say it to others. If you have a friend who gossips to you about everyone else, sooner or later you’ll wonder what they’re telling others about you.

Gossiping has ruined many a friendship, and even workplace relationships. The classical Greek philosopher Socrates, credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, reportedly said: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”

4. Say no to sick days.

Your boss is counting on you, and unless you’re really and truly sick, playing hooky to skip out on work will let him and your coworkers down.

One way to succeed at work is to be reliable and only use sick days for times when you are truly sick. Sure, you might get away with pretending to be sick to get off work, but people will come to see you as someone who often drops the ball and they’re left picking up the pieces.

Paul said to the Thessalonians, “We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge … to settle down and earn the food they eat.”8 According to one reference, the original Greek translation of “disruptive” meant playing hooky.

And like the story of The Little Red Hen, make sure you don’t only show up when the bread is finally baked.

5. Never do nothing.

Hanna, who was an intern at Universal Pictures, said, “If you’re free, ask your boss, ‘How can I help?’ She may give you just some copying to do, but do that task well before you ask for anything more!”

Rather than wasting time because you’ve finished your task, take a look around at what needs to be done. You’ll quickly become an asset to any company if you often do more than is expected of you or offer to help someone else with what they’re working on.

Jeroboam was a shining example of this.9 When Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph. That’s a good example of how faithfulness in the little things can put you in position to do great things. You can bet that didn’t come from him sitting around and slacking off every chance he got.

American author Stephen King said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

Stay tuned for part 2, where we will cover the next five tips on how to excel at your work.


Footnotes
1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internship
2 Isaiah 6:8
3 Luke 16:10 NIV
4 “The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service,” by Lee Cockerell
5 http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2005-10-11/be-obsessive-about-details
6 Proverbs 10:4 NLT
7 Ephesians 4:29 NIV
8 2 Thessalonians 3:11–12 NIV
9 1 Kings 11:28

Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2016 by The Family International


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