While the witty playwright, author and poet Oscar Wilde might have been of the opinion that "Hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing to do," employers feel otherwise. If you want to keep your job and have a chance at advancement, adopt the qualities of a hard worker. Your efforts will not go unnoticed.
Punctuality and Dependability
While you might not think it's a big deal if you walk in the door five minutes late, you can count on the fact that your supervisor is taking note. People who have a reputation for being hard workers not only show up on time, but arrive early. Make a point to never be the last person in the door.
Once you've arrived at work, stay there. Don't make a habit of leaving early for doctors' appointments or to get a head start on your weekend trip to the beach. Dependability and hard work go together.
Initiative and Flexibility
People who are go-getters seize each day, looking for opportunities to change their environment for the better. When you're at work, take the initiative and work to change inefficient processes. Tell your supervisor about the creative idea you came up with to increase the company's sales, for example.
Be flexible as you work, as well. Business author Jeff Haden, writing for "Inc." advises forgetting about your job description when you see someone else in need. Jump into the fray and help. For example, if you're a computer programmer standing by the receptionist's desk and notice she's overwhelmed, greet a waiting customer and let him know she'll be with him in a moment.
Motivation and Priorities
Hard workers are self-motivated. In other words, they're the type of people who will sweep the floor when it's dirty without waiting for the boss to walk by and say something. Anticipate your company's needs whenever possible, and work to fulfill them.
Align your priorities with the goals of the company. If increased sales will benefit your company the most, do what you can to make that happen, whether you work directly in sales or as the person creating the graphic design for the company's brochures.
Learning and Self-Reliance
Employees who are eager to learn are perceived as working harder than those who have to wipe the drool from their mouths after falling asleep in a meeting. Ask questions that will help you to learn more about your job and read publications relevant to your industry.
Work to be self-reliant, as well. When your boss is busy pulling together figures for the annual report, you may have to figure out how to locate information for a customer on your own without relying on her as a back-up.
Stamina and Perseverance
It's much easier to be a hard worker when you are able to physically do the work. If you're a salesperson in a large store and lack spring in your step, consider a gym membership to help you hustle and bustle with the best of them.
Finish what you start. You may appear to be hard-working when you're making the copies for the organization's new employee handbook, but when you leave piles of uncollated papers on the conference table for someone else to deal with later, you'll seem lazy.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.