10 Catchphrases to Help You Succeed at Work

Ace up your sleeve

Whether you want to succeed at your summer job, or take a step up the corporate ladder, you need an “ace up your sleeve,” or secret knowledge that will give you an advantage. The following 10 catchphrases will help you remember essential work habits and people skills that might just make your boss love you.

Wear many hats

If your boss asks you to pitch in when needed, don't say “that's not my job.” If you’re willing to wear many hats, or do many different types of tasks, you’ll demonstrate that you’re flexible and valuable. If you look your new tasks as an opportunity, and not an inconvenience, you’ll get a chance to show your strengths and maybe even move up to a new position.

Born with two ears and one mouth

The age-old advice from Greek philosopher Epictetus—“You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason”—speaks to an important yet overlooked skill. Most people hear someone speak and start to form a response in their mind—or, worse, start talking—before the person even finishes what they’re saying.

If you listen without interrupting, your boss and coworkers will appreciate your attention, and you’ll avoid making assumptions, which can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.

Rumor mill

This is actually a bad work habit that you want to avoid at all costs, though it’s easy to get caught up in it. If a coworker tries to pull you into the rumor mill and spill some gossip, don’t get sucked into the conversation. You could say, “I’m not interested in talking about her personal life.” And never, ever repeat anything you’ve heard, even if it turns out to be true.

Procrastination is the thief of time

Do you avoid some tasks even when a deadline is looming? Perhaps you’re distracted or you don’t have the mental energy. Whatever the reason, you’ll find that procrastination is the thief of time, meaning if you put off doing something you need to do, you won’t have enough time to do it properly. Putting off your work, even a project you dread, won't make it go away. You might as well get it over with.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

The last thing you want to hear your boss say is: “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” This saying, from President Harry S. Truman, means if you can’t face the pressures or difficulties of a certain task, let someone else do it—but stop complaining!

Often, pressure comes from too much work and too little time. Try eliminating distracting interruptions—all those endless emails, texts and Snapchats—so you can focus on the project at hand. When you’ve completed your project and the pressure’s off, then you can enjoy catching up with your friends.

Take the bull by the horns

The idiom take the bull by the horns reminds you that the best way to confront a difficult situation is in a direct manner. In the workplace, the idiom refers to proactive problem-solving. When faced with a workplace challenge, think like a bull and take charge. Instead of fretting about a problem, become the solution! You’ll demonstrate enthusiasm for the success of the business, take the pressure off your boss, and likely earn her appreciation.

Strike a pose

We all love words, but much of how we communicate is through body language. When you’re at work, strike a pose, or hold your body in a position that creates an impression. Your nonverbal skills should include good posture to show confidence. Don’t fidget with your hands, hair or phone, which shows a lack of confidence or focus. Good eye contact impacts your ability to persuade, whereas looking down suggests insecurity.

Not a hair out of place

The idiom not a hair out of place hints that your appearance should be near-perfect. Simply put, "dress for success” makes all the top 10 lists of good work habits. That entails wearing the appropriate clothing and accessories for your workplace. Feel free to kick back on the weekends—but avoid that embroidered sleeveless vest at the office holiday party!

Face time

Do you like to FaceTime? Those video calls from your iOS devices are a fantastic way to stay in touch with your clique. In the workplace, face time refers to the quality time you spend around your co-workers. To ensure maximum impact, make sure you're attending all company events and get-togethers. Be visible! That means putting on a smile, making friends (when possible) and generally acting like a pleasant individual to be around. It's not always easy, but that sweet, sweet paycheck makes it all worthwhile.

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