Please Don't Just Do What I Tell You! Do What Needs to Be Done: Every Employee's Guide to Making Work More Rewarding

Please Don't Just Do What I Tell You! Do What Needs to Be Done: Every Employee's Guide to Making Work More Rewarding

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The author of the million-copy-selling 1001 Ways series shows how to get ahead by fulfilling every employers ultimate expectation. This book contains a clear message: Every boss wants an effective worker to do what most needs to be done without having to be asked. Simple? Perhaps. Easy? Not on your life. But thanks to Bob Nelson, employers and employees everywhere will be empowered by this vital message, and in the process achieve their goals and create a mutually rewarding experience.

As brief, to the point, and inspiring as his previous best-selling titles, Nelsons commonsense advice can be applied to any situation, from the mailroom to the boardroom, and is illustrated with a wide array of examples and anecdotes from real life. Helping readers tap into their own intelligence, resourcefulness, and pride, Nelson demonstrates how acts of initiative both big and small can make an enormous difference in the way an employee is viewed—and rewarded—by his or her boss; he also shows how the effects of those actions benefit the entire organization. It's a perfect first day on the job book; a useful resource for any HR department; and a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants to learn more and go farther in a job, in a career, and in life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786867295
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 09/28/2001
Edition description: 1 ED
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,247,946
Product dimensions: 5.87(w) x 8.62(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Bob Nelson, Ph.D., is the president of Nelson Motivation, Inc., a management training and consulting company. He has written numerous books on management and business skills, including the bestselling 1001 Ways series (1001 Ways to Reward Employees, 1001 Ways to Energize Employees, 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work) and Managing for Dummies. He lives in San Diego, California.

Read an Excerpt

Part One

Introduction: A Message Whose Time Has Come

Like many people, I held some interesting jobs as a teenager and in college. I had a job assembling bicycles (I was fired). I sold dictionaries door-to-door. I once spent a summer collecting unpaid tickets for a beauty pageant, ordered from sweet-talking contestants by middle-aged men who never intended to actually go. I've worked as a math tutor, a bookstore receiving clerk, a 7-Eleven cashier, and a summer camp Boy Scout counselor. I've done yard work and maintenance work for room and board to help get through college.

Most of these jobs were mundane to the point of being boring. They seemed to me at the time to have in common only the fact that they were each menial, minimum-wage jobs.

I learned later that I was wrong. Each of these jobs offered valuable lessons and opportunities that I ignored -- lessons I've since learned could be obtained in any job, at any level!

Take, for example, my job at 7-Eleven. I felt I was a good employee. I did what I was told to do and what I felt was expected in my job, which seemed to consist primarily of standing behind the cash register, waiting to ring up customer purchases.

One day, however, I was standing behind the cash register talking with another employee when the regional manager walked in the door. He glanced around the store for a moment, then motioned for me to come with him down one of the aisles. Without saying a word, he started to front merchandise, that is, to move up inventory to replace products that had been purchased.

He then walked to the food preparation area, wiped down the counter, and emptied a full trash receptacle.

I observed all of this with curiosity, and it slowly dawned on me that he expected me to do all the things he was doing! This came as a complete surprise to me, not because any of the tasks he was doing was new (I had done them all before; for example, I would mop the floor and empty the trash every day before my shift was done), but because the assumption was that I needed to be doing these tasks all the time!

Well, nobody had ever explicitly told me this before! And even now it was unstated.

In that unspoken moment, I learned a lesson about the world of work that would serve me for the rest of my life -- a lesson that not only made me a better employee, but also allowed me to get more out of every job and work experience from that moment forward.

The lesson was that I needed to be responsible for my own work. I needed to accept a higher level of ownership for my job in which I held myself personally accountable for my actions. In short, I needed to focus on what needed to be done and not wait to be told what to do.

Once I grasped this lesson, jobs I had found mundane became much more fun and exciting to me. The more I focused on what I could do in the job, the more I was able to learn and accomplish.

I left the 7-Eleven job to go to college, but I took something from that experience that shaped my life and career in a profound way. I went from being a bystander to taking charge of my work experiences. Class projects became more interesting, part-time jobs and internships became opportunities to explore entire professions, and entry-level positions became portals for unprecedented opportunity and growth.

As I advanced to higher positions as a manager and executive, I always tried to find opportunities to do what needed to be done. In fact, in every job, at every level, I saw chances to excel and make a difference -- not just for my employer, but for myself as well.

I came to the conclusion that every employee in every job needs to hear and believe this fundamental message: You can start to make a difference with your life today, in the job you currently hold, not the ideal job you hope you might hold someday in the distant future.

In the following pages, you'll gain further insight into how to take charge of your job, your career, and your life.

Our journey starts with an imaginary letter to new employees I call "The Ultimate Expectation."

Copyright © 2001 Bob Nelson

Table of Contents

Part 1Introduction
A Message Whose Time Has Come1
Part 2The Ultimate Expectation
Do What Needs to Be Done7
Part 3Simple Strategies and Techniques
Ways to Get Started Now15
Think--What Needs to Be Done?17
Make Your Job More Difficult18
Think How Things Could Be Improved20
Develop a Reputation for Being the Office Cheapskate22
Ask Silly Questions24
Turn Needs Into Opportunities26
Caution: Don't Be a Complainer28
Prepare--Do Your Homework29
Learn What You Don't Know First30
Collect Your Own Data32
Develop Options and a Plan of Action35
Shoot Holes in Your Own Plan37
Realize No One Cares about Your Ideas39
Caution: Don't Play Games at Work42
Act--Do Something Different Now43
Speak Up to Have Influence!44
Volunteer for Difficult Assignments45
Greet Challenges with Creativity47
Look for the Positive in Problems49
Be a Person Who Makes Things Happen52
Caution: Take Responsibility for Your Actions (and Inactions)55
Persevere--Don't Give Up Easily57
Regroup When Your Ideas Meet Resistance58
Don't Trust Your Manager's Open Door60
Persist When Obstacles Arise62
Do the Same Thing Differently64
Learn to Enjoy Those Things That Others Hate to Do66
Caution: Avoid the "Blame Game"68
Part 4Common Concerns
What Holds Us Back73
"I might make a mistake."75
"What needs to be done is not easy."77
"I'm afraid of being fired."78
"I don't have the authority."81
"I don't have the support."83
"I don't have the skills."85
"I took initiative once and made a mistake."87
"Someone keeps blocking my efforts."89
"I constantly fail when I try to take initiative."91
Part 5In Conclusion--the Ultimate Reward
Realize Your Potential93

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