Don't Be A Flake!

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you had a lovely week and are looking forward to a great weekend. If you are in the United States, then you probably are looking forward to the long weekend of Labor Day as I know I am. But before we get to the weekend, I want to take this post to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while as I’m wrapping up summer projects. I want to share a very important and simple tip for getting ahead at work, getting respect, and actually getting things done: don’t be a flake! Let me explain.

We all know what a flake is or what flaking behavior is, right? Well, just to make sure we are all on the same page, flaking is not holding up your end of the deal, canceling plans at the last minute, or not coming through on a promise. At work, this means not getting your assignment done on time and therefore holding up the team’s work, forgetting to send in a report that you said you would, or dropping a project at the last minute because suddenly you are too busy to actually get the work done. While no one is perfect and everyone (and I mean everyone) forgets something occasionally, repeatedly flaking is bad both in personal life and at work.

The best solution? Don’t be a flake! It’s like Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” You don’t try not to flake on people, you just don’t do it.

If this means you have to keep multiple calendars, to-do lists, and set reminders for yourself, then you do it. If it means that you have to actually take a moment and think about committing to an extra project, task, or committee, you do it before you say yes. It isn’t complicated, but it can be hard to change a behavior, especially if it has become your default setting. But if you do, I bet you’ll see huge benefits as you become known as a person whose word can be trusted and who always gets their work done, no excuses.

The great thing about becoming someone whose word is trusted is that you find that you get more opportunities. People want to work with you and come to you with interesting things. They know they can count on you to help out, pull your weight, and that they won’t be left scrambling to put out fires at the last minute when you’re not around to do the work. It may take a while to rebuild that kind of trust if you’ve been flaking for some time at work, but it can be done.

This is especially important in the library world, which is small and word can get around if you are prone to flaking on work, even if everyone swears you are the nicest person ever. I don’t really care if you are nice if I can’t depend on you to get things done after you’ve promised.

The wonderful thing to is that when you have your fallible human moment, as we all do, and something slips by or something comes up and you didn’t get something done or simply can’t and need to ask for help, you’ll be amazed at how many people are willing to help you. This is because you’ve helped them and it’s a virtuous cycle. Stopping flaky behavior doesn’t mean you have to be perfect; it means you have to keep your word and when life happens, you let people know so your network can help you, just like you’ve helped them.

Remember flakiness is only good in biscuits and pie crusts, not in the workplace.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear readers. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!