The Rap Guide to being top of your game and then staying there.
14 Tips on how to achieve recognition and earn top dollar Jay-Z style
Early Autumn is here and many passive job seekers are considering their options on the job market. This time of year is a popular time to change jobs. As the season starts to change and summer holiday memories fade, the exocet of festive excess and expense (Christmas) and the looming resolutions of New Year; forces us to reflect on what we have achieved, and how we coulda/woulda/shoulda done better . (Thanks Celine).
So as you evaluate your 2014 career achievements and plan how to ensure you receive the recognition and money you deserve, consider the attributes of what those at the top of their game have utilised to get there and what they are doing to stay there.
Were they lucky or did they create their luck and opportunity and, if there is such a thing as easy money; where is it? If your plan is to be off the hinges in 2015 then consider the lessons that can be learnt from those heroes of swagga and use it to your advantage in the workplace.
1 Hard work
I’m far from being god, but I work god damn hard – Jay-Z – 14 Lyrical Exercise – The Blueprint
I went to a meeting this week and saw a poster on their internal notice board that said “Work hard until you no longer need to introduce yourself” . It made me think about the pivotal moment when you are no longer identified at work as the person who is always in first, but you are known for being you. Are you that person in your team? Do you work hard? “Yes” I hear you cry “of course I am, of course I do”. But do you really? Consider carefully how you approach your day, what do you plan to do and do you stay to ensure you achieve it. Working hard is not just looking at your phone/email/texts at all hours of day and night. It is about having a clear and realistic approach to what you need to do to move your role forward. Understand what your function is to the larger company goal, how your work is going to be evaluated and how you are going to quantify this at review time.
2 Keep pushing there is still more work to do.
Without the work the magic won’t come – Jay Z Decoded
So, you are working hard, setting goals, ticking them off and quantifying the impact they will have on your team/company’s success. The problem is this may not be enough. Look at your colleagues; who is doing what to get ahead and what are they doing that you are not. Are they picking up extra project work, thinking around problems and being prepared to offer solutions to them? How much of your working day are you doing non –work related tasks? I am not saying that this should not be permissible, however you need an honest appraisal of your time in the office so that when you look at what you have achieved in the working day you know exactly the time your Fantasy Football team, daily mail online, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Ocado and ASOS habits have taken and whether that was a valid use of your time. You need to be able to classify urgent and important tasks and control your time.
3 Understand how your role affects the business and understand the metrics around how your performance is evaluated.
Men Lie, Women lie, Numbers don’t – Jay-Z Reminder
You are being told that you are doing great by your colleagues and boss. How do you know if this is actually true? To really achieve be prepared to commit to quantifiable goals and then ensure your manager makes a note of them. You are then committed to yourself and them to ensure delivery.
By clearly demonstrating how you have delivered on the tasks and responsibilities you are assigned you can have a great negotiating advantage at review time as you have clear evidence, agreed by your manager, of your achievements and because you understand how your role fits into the company you can show the effect on the bottom line.
I’d rather die enormous than live dormant – Jay-Z Can I Live
Being able to start each day with a positive attitude about what you can influence, change, achieve sets the precedent for how others perceive you. By approaching each day as an opportunity you will create chances and above all, feel great about the effort that you have put into your day. Life does not run smoothly for anyone; however by looking for the positives in life you will influence not only your own mood and performance but those around you too.
5 Be your own critic and be prepared to accept criticism
I’m not perfect No one on this earth’s surface is – Bonnie & Clyde FT Jay-Z
Ego and self- belief are hugely important to this plan, however so is humility and the ability to admit when you are wrong and perhaps more importantly being able to offer praise and recognition to others. The work place is a dynamic interface and the one thing you can be certain of is change. Recognise what you do not know and what skills you do not possess and be prepared to learn from others. By opening yourself up to criticism you will improve and this continuous openness to learning will allow you to compete in areas which are out of your traditional comfort range.
6 Peer pressure
No Lie, just know I chose my own fate. I drove by the fork in the road and went straight
Eminem FT Jay –Z Renegade
Be prepared to choose your own path. This will not always make you popular but it will allow you to be true to yourself and mark you out as someone who has conviction and belief. Listen to others views but ensure you are making your own judgements. Have valid reasons for your decisions and be prepared to be maverick and proud of it.
7 Respect those around you
You can pay for school but you can’t buy class – T.I. Kanye West Jay-Z and Lil Wayne- Swagger Like Us
Working as part of a team is a fantastically rewarding experience. Successful teams have a synergy and excitement surrounding them and why this magic exists is sometimes hard to quantify. They are delicately balanced though and a subtle shift can change the dynamics and often the success. Treat your peers, staff and bosses with respect and you will be remembered for it. You are never too important to say “good morning, how are you? Thank you or would you like a cup of tea? “ Make sure you never forget.
8 Know your market, build an expertise
Next time you see the homie and his rims spin, just know my mind is working just like them
Jay-Z Moment of Clarity
Be interested and informed about your firm and your function. Understand how the business operates and be seen as an expert and “go to” person by others in the company. Keep learning and
be prepared to share your knowledge, far from undermining your position it marks you out as someone with leadership potential.
You can want success all you want, but to get it you can’t falter. You can’t slip. You can’t sleep. One eye open, for real, and forever. – Jay-Z Decoded
So you want to have a large pay cheque, bonus, company car, office with a view you have to be prepared to do the graft to get there. The irony is the rewards will all come at once but with them l the accountability and the pressure too. Getting there is one thing but those who maintain their position are prepared to continue to be involved.
Fix up look sharp- Dizzee Rascal
How we look and how we are perceived is not just about how we dress but how we influence those around us with our presence. Charisma is not only how you portray your power to others through your non-verbal communication and presence but about how you treat others and how connected people feel to you. Charismatic people can focus 100% on the person they are talking to and this imbues the individual with feelings of certainty and belief that they are liked a lot. This is skilled communication and very powerful influence on the human psyche.
I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars they criticised me for it yet they all yell “HOLLA” – Jay-Z Moment of Clarity
Jay-Z clearly understands the ”Survival of the Fittest” theorem. The most successful species since time began have adapted to suit their environments and you should be prepared to as well. A new management structure, a company takeover, a promotion you don’t agree with can send many people into a tail spin. Start to think of change as an opportunity and one thing that is sure; the quicker that you get with the new programme the more likely you will be to survive.
The only difference between a winner and loser is a winner plays until he wins –
BIG KRIT Boobie Miles- Genius
Motivation should be nurtured. You need to be prepared for it to change and take on a different form each day but by understanding your own motivation and the motivations of others you will know what to do to keep going even when you think all is lost. Get to know what tricks you can play on yourself to kick start your performance. Don’t rely on others to motivate or incentivise you. The most successful people are doing it for themselves and you should be too.
I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold – Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness
Hard work, focus, planning, collaboration, evaluating and analysis. Wow! Sounds like all is going to plan but did you remember why you were doing this? Remember to make happiness part of the master plan. Working hard does not necessarily mean not having a great social and family life but it can do. Successful people know at what times of day their work output is most effective, when it is essential to work extra hours or when it is possible (or necessary) to leave work early without damaging their workload. Being happy is also about understanding that it is not always about the money, holidays, shoes and cars but about how you feel about who you are and whether you are at ease with your failures as well as your successes, because there will always be both.
14 Just doing it
Dream big be unrealistic – Jay Z – On the Run tour
Having dreams, plans and passion are key factors but making them come true is down to you. The only barrier that can stop you doing it is you. Just trying is what matters. You may fail first time but if you have the tenacity and determination your dreams can come true.