March 2015: Sam Farley ‘74

Photo of Sam Farley

How to Stand Apart from the Herd

So now that you have your degree, I-Phone, a tablet, and the desire to make a name in the world, someone entering the workforce should be aware of some characteristics that will set them apart from everyone else in the market place. Have you thought about the affect of your own integrity and work practices? Employers today seek employees that they can trust, because many have great freedom in handling the affairs of the company. That trust has to be earned over a period of time and this reputation will follow you from job to job. It is a reputation you will establish with your employers, co-workers, and your customers. What can take you many years to build, can be severely damaged in one careless moment.

In American business and in most areas of the world, customers, vendors, and employees want to do business with people whom they trust and respect. Even when you must say “no” to a deal or have to discipline an employee, if it is done using fair and sound principles you retain the respect of the other party. You always want to do the “right thing” so it is critical that you develop a strong moral compass. It begins with treating every person with respect whether it is the janitor, waitress, client, or executive.

            It is important to pay close attention to your work practices, which I believe are closely aligned with your personal integrity. In today’s global job market young people with good work habits will advance quickly because they set themselves apart from their peers. Let me offer you some examples of good work habits:

  1. Arrive for work or appointments 10 minutes early and be prepared for the meeting or work activity.
  2. If you do not understand a directive or do not know how to do something, ask for more information and then remember it.
  3. If you make a mistake, admit it. Do not make excuses, explain what happened, and learn from your mistake.
  4. Listen carefully to feedback from your supervisor or co-workers, customers, or visitors.
  5. Seek to learn more every day. Ask for new assignments, try different jobs within the company, and accept difficult assignments graciously.
  6. Do not participate in office gossip and do not run down another employee regardless of what you hear. You will develop a reputation as someone who can be trusted with confidential information, thus you become very valuable.
  7. Watch, observe details, & and remember what you see & hear.
  8. If you will read 20 to 30 minutes per day information about your company, competitor’s products, general business information, new technology, news, or information about taxes & regulations you will become an invaluable resource for your company.

While these things may seem simple, they have been proven many times over 40 years of work experiences. This information is generally not shared in the high school or college environment but if practiced it will make you a more successful employee in whatever position you attain.

Sam Farley is a 1974 graduate of Concord University and works for AMECO a global provider of construction equipment & project support services located in Grenville SC