Making an Honest Living


The relationship between you and your boss can be a tricky one, but it’s one that is 100 per cent based on honesty. Employees in higher roles must be able to count on their colleagues being on task towards a greater objective, while employees must trust that their bosses are being forthright with their motivations. This dynamic is important now more than ever, because the workplace has grown transparent to the point that any transgressions can quickly get out of hand, leaking to the public and costing people their jobs. Whether you’re a manager or a desk jockey, follow these tips to keep things honest and get ahead in your career.


Photo: Victor1558/CreativeCommons

Know you have nothing to hide, and keep it that way
It sounds easy, but being honest takes just that: honesty. If you always tell the truth, you will appear confident to your employers and colleagues, as well as appear trustworthy—both key factors in getting raises and more responsibilities. Plus, never having to watch your back can reduce job-related stress. 

However, this applies even when doing so makes you look bad. A good employer knows that mistakes happen, but it’s how these mistakes are cleared up that reflects most on the employee. Admitting mistakes will make you look good in the long run, as people respect others who can admit their shortcomings. Furthermore, if you allow yourself to be tempted into keeping a mistake mum, it can snowball into something much, much worse that can blow up in your face. Having a confidential, yet candid, discussion with your boss means that the right resources can be put into play to grow the company.


Photo: Victor1558/CreativeCommons

Live up to your expectations, and theirs
Being a man of your word can, and should, be taken in both a metaphorical and literal context, as it keeps you satisfied and prevents complacency—the ultimate career-killer. First and foremost, you must be true to yourself and your personal code of ethics with every action you take. Although not everyone has the luxury of working for a company that coincides with their own set of morals, living up to your own expectations will keep you satisfied with your work.

On top of that, show up on time and don’t leave early, even if that’s what your coworkers are doing. This will keep you focused on your work rather than the clock. You should also try to keep your time on BuzzFeed or socializing with the next cubicle over to a minimum—it may be fun at the time, but at the end of the day you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished nothing.

Ultimately, you have to make sure your bosses are satisfied with your work, and this means saying no every once in a while (even if it’s a bit frightening to do). If a project is out of your range of expertise, for example, accepting it will only serve to stress you out and produce a poor product, making everyone suffer. Instead, let your bosses know what your strengths are, and they’ll play to them. Trust us.


Photo: Victor1558/CreativeCommons

Look at how you appear to others
Taking some time out to think about how others perceive you helps to give you an idea of how trustworthy an employee or colleague you are. Do your coworkers see you socializing often and using a computer for fun, or sharing ideas with colleagues and being productive? Whether we talk the talk or walk the walk plays a considerable role in how trustworthy we seem. If you’re having a hard time visualizing your work ethic, consider looking at your social media usage. Are you constantly posting new statuses on company time? Remember, your boss can check on your accounts just as easily as you if you’re thinking on hiding your The Onion visits.


Photo: Victor1558/CreativeCommons

Be an honest leader
If you find yourself in a leadership position, know that your personal conduct will always determine how your employees will act. There is no such thing a rule that doesn’t apply to everyone: if you are seen making unethical calls, skipping out early on Friday, or worse, putting your hand in the proverbial cookie jar, they will be tempted to do the same. To maintain trust with your employees, give them the same honesty you appreciate from them. Don’t give anyone preferential (or discriminatory) treatment.

Don’t hide your weaknesses, either—you hired employees to do the things that you can’t do yourself. The most tempting part of having a bit of power, however, is being in a position that you can shift blame onto others. By taking responsibility for your actions, especially if what you were doing was motivated by the good of the company, you show yourself as an effective leader who appreciates his employees for their individual contributions when you try to right a wrong. Above all else, give people the chance to succeed. Ever-present successes will create loyalty to the company and give your employees the satisfaction they deserve.


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