Career Tips to Overcome the Competition

By Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun

Copyright 2021


Today’s work environment is competitive. And, most people like to have the advantage. But, leading the pack is a challenge even for competitive individuals. Overcoming workplace competition demands a plan. No longer is it OK to coast and expect longevity to move you up the career ladder. Longevity doesn’t mean leverage. Realize that employee longevity is the workplace Dinosaur.

For the new breed of workers, now millennials, I'm not offering a new approach. Instead, I’m offering these time tested techniques that never go out of style. Use them to overcome stiff competition and advance your career. They work if you do.

Be polite and exhibit good manners: This old Cajun has seen a societal shift in the display of manners. It’s old fashion for someone to hold a door open for those behind them. But, it’s a difference maker. It’s so odd, you surprise people by your action. If someone drops something near you, stop to help retrieve the item. It’s another attention grabber. Put “please” in front of a request. Thank someone for their help. Both put another notch on your belt of polite actions. Be appreciative, caring and considerate and you win.

Good manners and politeness have been around almost as long as mankind. Neglect them at your own peril. Understand, politeness and manners reduces the competition.

Be inquisitive. Ask questions: Observe and become aware of your work environment and culture. Study the actions of others. Learn what works and what alienates. When you find someone that exhibits a high level of knowledge, pick their brain. Don’t be a pest but look for opportunities to ask questions. Be polite, listen and learn. I left teaching and changed careers to a chemist in a chemical manufacturing facility. I had my little “black book” to record my notes secure in my back pocket. My two co-workers had 20 years in this industry. They were generous with their insight and I was curious to learn what they knew. They taught me twenty years of knowledge in one year. I became an inquisitive student. That trait paid handsome dividends for my career growth and advancement.

Dig deep: There are two approaches to this idea. One is to go broad and learn all you can about the industry in which you work. The other is to drill down and grow your expertise in a narrow niche. Both have sound value to help with your career. It’s important you continue to grow your knowledge base. I’d advocate using both. Understand your industry trends and focus. Be aware of where the future movement is going and how you can profit from this information. But I believe diving deep can bring greater advantages. Digging deep didn’t place you in a hole. Rather, it enables you to build a stronger foundation upon which to grow a more productive career.

Write / Teach: Wait a minute Billy. I can’t write or teach. Revelation—you can learn how to do both. By writing articles and / or blogging on your expertise, you can gain credibility in the market place for yourself and/or your company. Here is a link to help you learn about blogging and how it can advance your career. Open, Write to get better at writing. Blog to share and teach your expertise. Master both. I’m going to start regular blogging besides my article writings. I’ve just written a book, Leading Yourself, Leading Others—Candid Conversations to Improve Performance. This is a deep dig into my leadership niche. It produced my third book and help teach others about leadership. It’s like winning the trifecta of career success. CAUTION: Be sensible with what you write. Understand, it never goes away and, if too controversial, can work against career grow.

Don’t look for the “free lunch:” Remember, even “freedom” is not free. So, don’t seek the easiest route towards a desired outcome. Don’t succumb to this notion. Look for the most productive path and turn down the easy method. Reality shows there is a price for all things in life. While you may “eat free,” be careful the meal doesn’t cause indigestion. Work smart but be willing to work. That’s the payoff path to follow.

Consider these five ideas as the beginning of your career growth options. Each will separate you from the competition and propel you career forward. Cash in on the ideas and leave the competition behind.

Billy Arcement—The Candid Cajun, offers in-person and virtual leadership training and consulting services to his corporate, government, and education clients. Preview his website, and Contact him at 225-572-2804