If you’ve spent a sleepless night or two worrying about your job and what you can do to hang on to it, you’re not alone. So here’s a hint: Think about the basics. Yes yes, everyone’s tweeting nowadays, or thinking about new certifications, or even bringing doughnuts to work to keep everyone happy. Those are all fine.
But what employers really want is to know you can be trusted to do what you say you’ll do. One of the best ways to build your credibility here: Meet your deadlines.
Too many people think deadlines are, well, flexible. That’s a bad habit. Think of it this way: If you’re providing services to a customer, and missing deadlines makes the customer mad, you’re going to lose that business.
If the customer’s outside your company, there’s an obvious financial implication. If they’re inside, there’s a job implications. Either way, missing deadlines is going to hurt your career.
Today, when the job market’s tight, missing deadlines is certainly more noticeable than it is during flush times. Nowadays, managers say, lower performing employees don’t last. When the economy dips and companies downsize, the first people to go are the ones perceived to be poor performers.
Of course, sometimes employees fail to meet a deadline because they honestly underestimated the scope of a project. Or because they want to be the go-to person, they make on-the-spot commitments that aren’t realistic.
A better solution is to let your supervisor know you need to create a schedule for a project, then get back to him or her within a couple of hours, or the next morning.
What can you do if you blow it? Pick the ball right back up again. A simple, “I’m sorry. I overcommitted. IÂ¿ll have the project done by X,” can go a long way toward cleaning the slate.