F.A.T. is an acronym my football coach in college taught us that he used when recruiting new players. I’ve found the acronym to be appropriate for many walks of life and absolutely relevant in the workplace.
Today, employers are lucky to find workers who will show up on time, let alone do their job, do it well and heaven forbid, go above and beyond.
The entitlement generation (of which I’m ashamedly a member of) seems to think that employers owe them a comfortable, enjoyable work experience, free of trouble and conflict. While I’m certainly in favor of taking care of your people and creating a positive work environment that is pleasant to work in and promotes both personal and professional growth, it seems too many young people today expect their place of employment to cater to their specific preferences.
For that reason, most employers hate recruiting new talent. They’re forced to place an ad, scour countless résumés and select a few candidates to invite in for interviews only to hear them lie about themselves, how great they are and how much they contributed to their laundry list of former employers.
This puts you the job seeker/new hire at a significant advantage if you’re serious about finding employment and becoming a valued asset to a company. Oddly enough, in this day and age, it doesn’t take a lot to set yourself apart from the rest of the workforce. Offices, restaurants and retail stores are filled to overflowing with employees who really don’t want to be there and have no problem making it known. Below are a few F.A.T. tips that you can use as an employee to develop your work ethic and show your employer that you take your job seriously.
Be Faithful. One of the most common remarks I hear from employers about young people today is the constant battle to get them to show up on time. Not only present but on location and ready to work. Waltzing in five or ten minutes late because “customers don’t even start showing up til 8:30” is no excuse. If you’re on the schedule for 8 a.m., arrive early and be at your post ready to go before your shift begins. Your punctuality and dependability alone will speak volumes to your employer about your commitment to your job. Having people on the front lines that they can trust frees them up to focus on other important aspects of the business.
Be Available. In a perfect world, we would all love to set our own schedule and work whenever we feel like it but not every job allows that. Especially in a new job, making special requests for time off or making yourself “unavailable” during prime business hours does not suggest a high level of commitment. If you’re a student and fortunate enough to find an employer that’s willing to work with your class schedule, don’t abuse it. Your girlfriends 21st birthday celebration isn’t their problem. Employers have plenty of other things to do than try and fit high maintenance employees into a work schedule.
If you really want to get crazy, consider volunteering for some of the less than desirable shifts. Sure 4:30 in the morning for the Starbucks barista doesn’t sound like fun but your willingness to take the less than pleasant shifts (or do the less than pleasant tasks for that matter) is a surefire way to make yourself available and prove to your employer that you take your job seriously.
Be Teachable. Most job descriptions today include a little section at the bottom that says “other duties as assigned” however many employees now a days tend to believe they were hired for a specific task and anything beyond that merits additional compensation. Sometimes that means cleaning the bathroom. Other times that might mean your stuck in fitting rooms instead of on the floor greeting customers. Every new job has a learning curve and if your employer, (yeah the man or woman who’s paying you) asks you to do something differently or requests you learn a new task and you’re unwilling to do so, you send the message that this is nothing more than a paycheck and you really could care less about their organization.
Valuable employees not only show a willingness to work, but they take initiative to learn other tasks to increase their knowledge and in turn, become more valuable within the organization. Think about it; if a company has to let someone go and it’s down to the guy who can do nothing but run cash register and the girl who not only runs the register like it’s black Friday at Wal-Mart, but wipes down tables, greets customers and lends a hand in the kitchen when called upon, who do you think is getting the boot?
While these ideas might seem like common sense, it amazes me how many employers I know have such a difficult time finding employees who will follow through with these simple principles. What’s more, it doesn’t take a whole lot to stand out in today’s work environment where genuine work ethic is painfully absent.
Be faithful to your word, showing up on time and ready to work when your shift begins, make yourself available when circumstances arise that may not exactly fit with your plans or your employment agreement and bring a humble, teachable attitude to work. Employers love employees that take their job seriously and want to learn how to better themselves and the organization.
How are you working to be a F.A.T. employee in the organization where you work? If you’re an employer, what are some of the biggest obstacles you face when dealing with your employees?