What Your Boss Wants From You

As I’ve gotten older, a strange thing has started happening to me. I’ll be doing my usual daily stuff *coughtwittercough* and suddenly, a long distant part of my life will flash before my eyes.

And it’s not good stuff, either. Pretty much memories that make me shudder. Some are bad dating scenarios, crazy girlfriends, wondering why I changed my college major, but a great many are of prior jobs.

The jobs I’ve had and the things I did and I wonder, really? I didn’t know better? I have now worked for over ten years in the catering business–and I learn more with every client we serve that there are some basic work skills that your boss or clients want you to have.

First, there are the obvious things: clean appearance, appropriate clothing, teachable attitude, decent personality. Right up there with those traits are: plays well with others, respect for the chain of command. Throw in not pilfering and minding your own business and you’re a good catch.

But what do employers really hope to find when they hire you? Besides the essentials, this list right may keep you collecting that biweekly check:

Don’t be a pot stirrer. Show up and shut up. Working for someone you really can’t believe is in management? Repeat after me: Every dog has his day.

Do not make up answers when asked questions. If you don’t know something, admit it. You don’t have to say, “I don’t know,” but you can say, “Let me find that out for you.”

Oh lordy lordy lordy, learn to manage your time. Decide how many minutes go to checking email, phone messages, returning calls, and reserve those blocks of time for just that and no more. Nose to the grindstone.

Remember that your employer is paying you for your time. This means that while on their clock, you will do their work. Nothing else.

Learn something new every day. Ask questions without sounding like a parrot. Just this little feather in your cap will make your boss big puffy heart you.

Bring a positive attitude to work. Other than the youngest generation Hiltons or Kardashians, we all have to earn a living. Try and smile, even if you don’t love your job–because it’s your job.

Walk in energetically each day if you have to knock off a Starbucks to do it. Don’t complain and don’t whine, because honestly, who likes to be around that?

Keep dissatisfaction to yourself and when dealing with difficult co-workers or supervisors, let your lips say “yes” but your mind whisper “pumpkin head!”

And for god’s sake, people, be independent. Work without supervision, I mean, come on, how old are we now?

Behave. Now turn off your phone and get to work.


Photo Credit: mrbill via photopin cc

About Alexandra

Alexandra is a writer who has found the secret to getting rich as a blogger that she'll share with you for just $9.99. When not taking her checks to the bank, Alexandra blogs at Good Day Regular People about life as an overanalyzing mother of three boys trying to go unnoticed in her small town. The most important things you need to know about her are that the internet saves her daily and that she believes the most you can ask for in life is to arrive at the end of it all with your hair messed up, out of breath, and not throwing up. Alexandra is a contributing writer for TikiTikiblog and FunnynotSlutty.


  1. Maggie S. says:

    I just know I’m gonna be one of those horrible returning to the work force old ladies that gets fired because she couldn’t learn fast enough.

    *cold chill*

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  2. IzzyMom says:

    You know, when I was a teenager, I always thought my bosses were assholes and mean and unreasonable. And then I grew up and managed people myself and I totally got it.

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  3. Cecilia says:

    Oh, I have bad memories of work too!! Really some horrible and humiliating ones…funny timing to hear you write about this because I was just thinking about posting something similar, because literally just yesterday I was observing one of my young female staff members (now I work for myself) teaching a workshop and the one thing that kept bothering me was how ditzy she came across…despite being extremely intelligent and educated. I had to figure out a way to tell her this without insulting her. And then I remembered how it felt like yesterday that I got the same advice from a female boss (that was literally about 20 years ago).

    My recommendation to avoid all of this? Work for yourself! I play all the time on my company’s dime ;-)

    • Alexandra says:

      Isn’t it amazing? The perspective of the years.

      I can’t believe I’d get upset when our boss would scream at us for sitting down for just a minute.

      Now I see it. He was paying us.

      Please do your post, Ceci–and we often think of the same things at the same time.

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  4. Arnebya says:

    I don’t see how I’ll be able to master (let alone attempt) any of these things when the majority of my time is spent on a different floor of the building hiding out in the bathroom playing Scramble With Friends. I cannot be bothered with actual work. I have tweets to send. I’ma get fired.

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    • Alexandra says:

      Oh, A, you are doing something right. You’re still there, and much too modest. But you’re doing something right. At least you’re not up there in the bathroom autotuning your voice and stuff…

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  5. brian miller says:

    do not make answers up is huge…that used to frustrate me when i was in management….this is a good list…and def remember your emplyer can see what you do on your work computer….sheesh….

  6. Ms. A says:

    I was expecting this to be a laugh fest, but that’s a very realistic list!

    • Alexandra says:

      A laugh fest!! I LOVE that you think of Laugh Fest when you think of me.

      No, mostly, for some reason–all the sins of my past are flashing in my face suddenly. Just everything I did wrong, how I wish I would have done if differently. Both my teens have started working, and I gave them this list and they liked it, and they gave it to their friends. On FB, “my mom has some good ideas for work.”

      The things we learn, red faced and all.

      xo Thanks for being such an amazing friend this year, Ms. A. THanks for your photos that make my littlest smile in wonder.

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  7. anne says:

    Ur so smart. Deep and smart. Like with great pieces of clothing, it’s hard to be this simple.

  8. Marta says:

    I love this. Absolutely great tips. I also love that I’m work right now reading this. Better get back to the grindstone!

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  9. Chantel says:

    Somewhere can we add, “Sex is never…NEVER an appropriate discussion topic at work.” Dear LORD above, but Fifty Shades suddenly put S&M on the table for lunchroom chatter….I have never known so much (gag) nor walked out of so many rooms and eaten in my office! Dude–I just don’t wanna know. *shudder*

    • Alexandra says:

      AH YES.

      Appropriate discussion topics. Really. I could give you examples.

      Good one, Chantel.

      Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, to one of the most down to earth bloggers I know. It’s a joy to know you.

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  10. Lady Jennie says:

    I especially agree with – love your job because it’s your job. All it takes is to be out of work in order to appreciate it.

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