There’s a lot of great advice out there about how to get ahead at work.
Learn new skills, grow your network, come up with bold new ideas—I have no beef with any of these. They’re all time-tested strategies. But there’s a simpler option, too:
Look for others’ pain points and alleviate them.
Start with your boss. What’s stressing her out? What ruins her day? Make a list of 2-3 things she hates to do.
Now, how could you help her with these things? Maybe you could volunteer to take on one of her least favorite responsibilities. This is your best option, though it’s sometimes not possible. If not, how could you smooth her path? If you find ways to make others’ work lives easier, your own work life will improve. Do this consistently, and your reputation will start to precede you.
It’s interesting that career development ends up being more about other people than it does about us.