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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


Updated: Nov 26, 2021

So many of my clients think that the best and fastest way to advance their career is to please all the people they work for and/or with. They think that if everyone likes them, if they do everything that is asked of them, as quickly and as well as possible, then certainly everyone will notice and of course, that will result in promotions and raises.

Guess what? Not true!

What you accomplish is helping others look good so THEY can reach their goals and advance THEIR careers.

I know what you are thinking, “I HAVE to make everyone happy or I will get FIRED”. Of course, there are things you must do in every job in order to remain in good standing.

But you have far more wiggle room than you think. AND that wiggle room will give you the space to do the things that will actually support YOUR career goals.

Here is a case study of a client I will call Jane, for confidentiality purposes.

Jane oversees many initiatives in her company which involve her working with many people across the organization. The most important part of her job, the part she is most excited about and the reason she wanted this job in the first place, is using data to create programs and products the company can use to be more effective. This is also the reason she was hired.

But there are a ton of people, around the globe, in all time zones, who work with her who need information from her to be able to proceed with their jobs.

Being a people pleaser by nature, Jane thought her success depended on her responsiveness and making all those people happy, so she felt compelled to respond, as soon as possible, to each request.

In turn she never had enough time to build those programs during working hours and found herself working 70 hours a week, exhausted and resenting everyone and everything about her job. But even more importantly, she was too unfocussed to produce great results - the very results that would actually add value to the company!

To add another layer - Jane’s ultimate career goal was to have her own consulting business. Learning new data skills and creating these programs would give her the experience she needed to advance this career goal.

I asked Jane a few questions to explore whether she really needed to respond to everyone’s emails so quickly:

- Is responsiveness only measured by time or might it be measured by the quality of the response?

- Is it possible that (within a reasonable time, of course), taking the time to give more thoughtful answers, that anticipate further inquiries that can be answered proactively and more fully in her responses, a more useful way to measure whether she is “responsive”.

- Is it possible that most inquiries are not actually urgent and can wait until a predetermined time block in her day where she triages and addresses the emails accordingly?

So while responding to her colleagues is definitely something she must do to keep her job, there was a lot more wiggle room than Jane was aware of.

She decided to tell everyone that she will address emails at noon EST every day and that if something is more urgent to please write “URGENT” in the subject line, and give the time frame for when the response was needed.

Guess what happened? Only about 10% of the emails were marked “urgent” and even then the time frame for when a response was needed was often no sooner than 24 hours! She had been robbing herself of her own progress for nothing! People were satisfied (aka pleased) even when her responses were NOT immediate.

Jane was able to schedule uninterrupted and focussed time blocks, during working hours, to create the programs she was hired to work on. Successful deployment of these initiatives were how HER success was measured so HER trajectory in her company was optimized AND she was gaining the experience she needed to get closer to her ultimate goal of working for herself.

Where are you spending time in your job people pleasing and depriving yourself of progress and success?

How can you find some “wiggle room” to do what you need to do for your job and your career and still attend to the ancillary tasks required of you?

PS - If you want to help to figure out how you can stop people pleasing and interfering with your career goals, sign up for a free consultation with me and let’s talk. CLICK HERE to sign up for a spot on my calendar.

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