7 things your boss expects from you


Photo by Eddie Lackmann

Photo by Eddie Lackmann

7 Things your boss expects from you without asking

Gemma Gosden

30 August 2016

Are you joining the world of work this year? Got a job to fund uni, college or your round the world travel plans? Want to keep that job? Read Girl did Good’s guide to what your boss wants from you.

All of the following are basic rules to follow that will make you a good employee. Plus it will save you from an awkward conversation about work ethics or workplace etiquette.

1. Read your contract and know the rules

Don’t just sign your contract without reading it. Or even worse – don’t sign it at all!

Take responsibility and know what’s in it, sign and return their copy. If you have to ask questions about sections you don’t understand, this shows you are taking an interest and will earn you brownie points. Don’t go crazy and start hounding HR or your boss on every tiny little item though. Have a stab at figuring out some of it for yourself or ask someone close to you for guidance.

If you know what to do when you are genuinely sick or how long your probation period will last without having to ask then you’re onto a winner. These little nuggets of information will help you in your every day life at work and Its always useful to keep your copy handy in case you want to refer to it as well.

2. Be on time & be willing to stay late

There is nothing worse than an employee coming into work late on a regular basis and your boss wont be fooled by excuses. There are only so many times you can say you got stuck in traffic or your alarm didn’t go off. Its down to you to get into work on time and If you’re constantly getting stuck in traffic then leave home earlier or get an earlier bus or train.

A job isn’t always 9-5. Sometimes, your boss will need you to start early and stay late. If it gets to the point where you are staying late and starting early every day then this is a problem. Approach your line manager to let them know you’re feeling overwhelmed. Otherwise, once in a blue moon isn’t going to be too painful and is all part of progression.

3. Be smart, clean and presentable

Be realistic and accept the fact you probably wont be able to wear jeans and trainers to the majority of work places out there. If you can, make sure its not the pair with holes in the knees (even if they are bang on trend) or the trainers you walked the dog in that morning.

Your boss wants to see you made an effort and can rely on you not stinking of BO all day. You never know who you may end up meeting that and first impressions count. Be ready to take on any challenge or opportunity that comes your way.

4. Be polite & friendly to everyone

Treat everyone with the respect you know you deserve to be treated with. Don’t assume the lower than lowest of employee won’t ever have any power or influence over you. Remember that PA’s, receptionists and admin assistants basically run the place and know everyone and everything.

Get involved and make the tea every so often. It works.

5. Listen and make notes

Don’t just nod and say yes, actually listen to instructions and to those around you. You’ll gain more respect from your colleagues by being present, learn how to better communicate with people and how to do your job more efficiently. More importantly you might happen upon an opportunity to climb a rung or two further up the ladder.

There’s no need to get your boss to repeat themselves. Have a notepad at the ready and actually MAKE NOTES so you don’t forget a task or any additional instructions that came with it. My ‘to do’ list is constantly at my side. It means I can seamlessly move on from one task to another and improves my productivity.

6. Be efficient & get the job done

When given a task GO AND DO IT. Don’t just sit and pretend to be busy for the rest of the day. Make notes so you don’t forget but If you are unsure then ask a question. Your boss would prefer you ask for clarification rather than sit about and not do anything with the excuse “I didn’t know how to do it.”

In order to be more efficient, turn off all notifications on electrical devices yes this includes your computer. I don’t know about you but every time my phone ‘pings’ or an email notification pops up on my screen I automatically go for it. So turn it all off or put it on silent so it can be dealt with later.

7. Be ambitious & work hard but don’t take over

Its difficult to be ambitious if you’re not working a job you enjoy. Is there is any potential in other areas you might be able to move into if the opportunity comes around? If you’re stacking shelves in a supermarket for example, would you prefer to move departments – eg into the bakery or into merchandising for the makeup counter? Could you see yourself working admin in the office working your way up to a managerial position?

If you can’t see a long term future in it then treat it as a stepping stone and a learning experience – something to add to your cv.

Its completely possible to start in the lowest of the low positions – telemarketing for an insurance company for example to then work your way up to becoming head of a department. I’ve seen it happen, but it takes a good work ethic and determination to reach the top.

Yes, use your initiative but don’t go so far that it looks like you’re trying to taking over. Run everything past your boss first because you may miss some vital information if you don’t. These kind of mistakes can cost a business thousands and may very well cost you your job. Get it right though and you could earn some serious promotion leverage.


Start as you mean to go on in your career by being professional and making a good impression. Follow through on the above and it will pay off. Don’t get me wrong, progression in the work place can take time and these are all things your boss will expect from a good employee. Keep at it and you’ll see results!

Gemma Gosden Headshot - Photo by EliotSiegel.com

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