You can only successfully make the sound of a vowel, specifically the A, E, I, O, and U sounds, when the vocal path is unobstructed. That’s what I want to help you do with your career: open the pathway to success. Whether you’re at the bottom of the totem pole or have reached a plateau in your current role, implementing the A-E-I-O-U’s of success into your everyday work-life will increase your opportunities for professional growth.
A is for Ask
Ask if there is anything else you can help with. Ask how you’re doing on a project or with a certain skill. Ask to be included in a meeting. Ask for more training. Your superiors won’t know you’re hungry for growth and interested in being more involved unless you ask to be. Even if you’ve decided this isn’t the particular company you want to be with long-term, getting more involved and learning all you can where you are will increase your experience and ability to manage similar tasks or situations in future roles.
E is for Extend
Oftentimes, competitive industries expect their workers to “go the extra mile” in order to just be considered competent. To really stand out, you must extend beyond what is expected of you. Don’t just complete the task in front of you, go out of your way to make sure it’s done better than anyone else around you could have done it. Do background research. Be more thorough than you think you need to be. Leave zero doubts in the minds of your subordinates and superiors that you are capable of efficiently and effectively getting the job done. Once people see how far you can go, everyone else will come up short.
I is for Initiative
Take initiative! If you see a need that isn’t being met, go meet it or bring it to the attention of someone who can. So many people in the workforce are just waiting their turn, but you won’t get ahead if you don’t take action. Do things without having to be asked—even minor things. If you see trash on the ground on a worksite, pick it up and throw it away. Those little gestures make an impact on those who are paying attention.
Taking initiative requires having a thorough understanding of your role and how it fits into the larger picture. If you’re not sure what your boundaries are and how far you’re allowed to go with this one, refer back to the letter “A”—ask. Your boss will be pleased that you’re showing interest.
O is for Offer
Make yourself available when needed. Do not discriminate between work-related projects. Open yourself up for every opportunity, not just the opportunities that you suspect will be successful or glamourous. When there is an opportunity to come in early and help set up for a work event—jump at it! Making yourself available for the seemingly less desirable shifts, in addition to the exciting ones, demonstrates your willingness to grow and your dedication to the company.
Remember that everything builds experience. Smaller projects often teach skills that will be useful or give insight into bigger projects down the road. If your hand is the one that keeps shooting up to volunteer, eventually management will just start looking in your direction when they need someone to take the lead.
U is for Update
Keep your supervisors in the loop. Newbies to the workforce are often advised to communicate laterally to best accomplish tasks and work effectively within a team or office environment, but upward communication is equally as important. Update superiors on what you’ve accomplished, don’t make them guess. If there are some stats on a project that you’re proud of, send off a quick quip to your boss: “I thought you would like to know that Project A was successful in gaining more leads for the sales team!” Those simple updates let them know how you are managing the work they’ve assigned and keep your progress at the forefront of their mind. Making management aware of your progress builds their trust in you as an employee and reminds them how efficient of a worker you are.
And sometimes Y, too
Y is for YOU! Don’t be afraid to be friendly and show some personality. People want to be able to relate to those they work with every day. Come out from under your cloak of invisibility and establish a presence in the office. Be personable and initiate casual conversations at the water cooler. By allowing your coworkers to get to know you, and putting in the effort to get to know them, you become more than just “Bob who sits in the corner,” you become a trusted ally. The people working right beside you could be some of your greatest, untapped resources in growing professionally and learning more about the business you’re in. Go grab a seat next to them in the lunchroom and get to know them—teamwork makes the dream work!
Vowels are the pillars upon which the English language rests. If you include the letter “y,” every word in the English language contains at least one vowel. They are versatile; their function changes according to their pairings with other letters and depending on the context in which they are being used. If you removed every vowel, from every word in this text, you might still be able to understand it, but it would take you at least twice as long to get through. Similar to the presence of vowels in a word, the use of the A-E-I-O-U pillars will clarify your purpose at work and move you quickly along, down the road to success in your career.