Honesty, vision good work attributes for the workplace

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To celebrate my Monday debut, I thought I would answer a work-related question that I get asked a lot. How did you become successful in your publishing career?

Below are some of the tips I have identified that have worked for me.

Know yourself

The primary consideration in pursuing success is to define yourself first - who am I, what do I want, and what will success mean to me?

When I was younger I used to read and write all the time. I studied engineering. It took a long period of depression, struggling to find meaning for my choice, moving back towards who I am and following a path of my choice.

Start all over again

One of the things I know about life is that things don't always work out the way you plan them.

If you ever find yourself on a path that your heart no longer recognises, be brave to start all over again.

No one is beneath you

You will work in organisations with a varied mix of people with different roles.It is in your best interest to respect others.

Get up from behind the desk

This is obvious but I thought I should just put it out there. Gluing yourself to your desk makes you seem inaccessible and unapproachable.

Yes, genius, I know you have e-mail and fancy electronic things. But e-mails don't always convey what we wish to communicate. Get up and talk to the people, involve people in your decisions. That way, everyone invests in the success of your project.

Show up

So you got to work on time today? That's not enough. In my profession, attending a few book launches a month helps to keep in touch with the industry. These kinds of "showing up" moments are important if you offer a service or a product.

Know when to log off Twitter

One of the biggest traps of our time is social media. As fantastic as it is for what it is, you need to learn when to pull back. This leaves one vulnerable. Just because you had not thought a tweet through does not mean you can't lose your job over it.


You need to keep in mind that there are hundreds of students graduating with better qualifications than yours. What are you doing with your opportunity to deserve holding onto that position? Have a vision and focus that will make you indispensable. You have to be known for your distinguishing characteristics.


One of my friends who is a public servant told me about the one time she had to repeat dirty underwear. She had gone to Cape Town for a meeting. When she was supposed to fly back to Johannesburg, her boss told her that she had to stay another day as there was someone they had to meet. She had packed just enough and could not imagine walking around with no underwear, so she wore dirty ones from the day before. While that may have been one of the most uncomfortable days of her life, her boss will always remember her for coming through when she was needed.

Choose your battles

I grew up believing I had to stand up for myself at all times, and that would be how I would come into the work space - all feisty and ready for a fight.

It is not pleasant dealing with someone who is always ready and waiting for a fight. Choose your battles carefully; that way people will tend to take you with a measure of seriousness .


Your reputation is everything. You owe it to yourself to be honest. The last thing you want is to have people who might know you talk to a prospective employer about your shady past.

Here's to a successful Monday.

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