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Brazen Careerist: Five Ways To Make Yourself A Workplace Superstar

Career superstars get all the benefits, including the biggest: Control over their lives. Columnist Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, shows you how to make yourself a superstar.

Penelope Trunk

September 20, 2007

3 Min Read

For all these reasons, starting a business while you work in a cube at someone else's business is a smart way to go. It ensures that you're never stuck. And it's not actually that hard to do.

4. Turn down promotions
The raise you get when you get a promotion is absurd. It's usually less than 10% of your salary, and it's not going to change your life. Surely you can find something to ask for that is more meaningful than that.

Also, when a company offers a promotion, the company says, Here is the next step in our ladder, and we'd like you to climb it. But why would you follow a path laid out for you by someone else? You should customize you career according to your workplace strengths and your personal needs, Laying out a path for yourself is difficult, but necessary. You need to understand yourself, and then you can tell your boss what you really need. Think about mentoring, training, getting on a really interesting project, or asking for flexible hours. These are things that will make a long-term difference in your career.

Not convinced? The process of giving someone a promotion is usually watching them succeed in one type of work and then giving that person new responsibilities that they do not necessarily have talent for. And that is why a promotion is more stressful than a divorce. So ask for other rewards instead. Really.

5. Start a blog
Superstars distinguish themselves from everyone else by being known for their ideas. This doesn't mean they sit in a room and think all day. Execution matters. But you need both. That's why a blog is so great for putting you at the top of your field.

A good blog presents your opinions on a wide range of issues within your chosen specialty. If you can post regularly you show not only that you have the self-discipline to produce, but you can make a plan and execute it over time, and, most of all, you show everyone the way that you think about issues in your field.

One of the most exciting things about specializing is taking part in a high-level discussion about cutting edge topics. Someone needs to lead that discussion, and increasingly, it is the bloggers who are doing that.

So, here are some easy instructions for starting a blog.

As with many things in life, it's harder to make the mental commitment to seeing yourself as a superstar than it is to take the steps to get there. The core of being a superstar is not about what you do in your work, it's what you do in your head: Believe in yourself and your ability to stand out for your ideas and then focus on being that person in whatever you do.

Penelope Trunk the author of the book Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. She was a software executive, founded two companies, has been through an IPO, an acquisition, and bankruptcy, and formerly played professional beach volleyball.

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