It Pays to Have a Good Reputation

Cleaing up the helipad on the DIscoverer Americas, image (c) R. Almeida
Cleaning up the helipad on the DIscoverer Americas, image (c) R. Almeida

How are you perceived at work? Are you thought of as a strong worker, a good leader, great team player, a follower, a loner, or a complainer?

Over time, your pay will increase if your reputation is terrific. If it is not, your pay will suffer. There are actions you can take.

Do you know what your coworkers think about you? Do you know what your boss thinks?

There are two critical components of this question. How you are perceives impacts everything you do at work, including your pay. And if you are struggling at work, for whatever reason, how can you correct the situation?

There is a difference between being competent in your chosen field and being considered a great employee. After a few years in a career, you are generally considered to be competent. But are you well liked? Do people want you on their team? If you are thinking about changing jobs, what will people say about you during an informal reference?

To get a handle on how you are perceived, ask a close colleague for a private conversation. If you have a great relationship with your boss, ask them. Ask about your reputation, your strengths and what you can improve. Listen carefully to the feedback, don’t get defensive, and understand that you need to respond through changing your behavior.

Even subtle changes will have an impact.

Don’t think that your reputation stays at a current job. While Human Resources departments do check dates of employment, the real reference check is through a friend of a friend who asks, “How is Pat to work with? Does he/she have a good reputation?”

Your reputation is the only real transferrable skill you have.

There is no best time to start this discovery. Your career is your family’s greatest investment and is worth managing well. Being considered “good” at work will pay back greatly over time.