How to be a Summer Standout

June 28, 2012

They don’t call them the lazy days of summer for nothing.

Summer is the one time of year (aside from the much shorter holiday season) when everyone has numerous social obligations and is actively looking for ways to slack off. Weddings are standard, as are family vacations, reunions, barbecues, camping trips, concerts and festivals. Odds are that more than one person at work wants time off, usually to the boss’ chagrin (remember, he’s trying to leave town too!). Someone’s got to get the work done and the deadlines met on time. And that person is you.

With your boss on vacation and your nemesis sporting baby doll dresses and flip flops, there are three simple ways to become a summer standout…without breaking a sweat.

Say no to a few “summer Fridays.” There are roughly 15 Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And while I don’t mean to be a killjoy here, the reality is you don’t need to take advantage of each and every one of them. In fact, while your co-workers are at the beach sleeping off Thursday night’s hangover, you can be getting A LOT accomplished in your very quiet office. Use this time to work on projects or pitches that you don’t have time to tackle during the week when the phone’s ringing off the hook and you’ve got back-to-back meetings. This quiet time is great to work on passion projects you’ve been too busy to focus on during the year. Need a focus group to see if you’re going in the right direction? Post a discussion in one of your Groups to get your project off the ground. With perspective in place, your pet project will start taking shape.

Get a clue about your colleagues. If you know a co-worker is so busy planning her wedding (hard to miss considering she isn’t talking about much else…) that she isn’t keeping up with her daily tasks, offer to take some of them off her plate. Listen and take careful notes in meetings about deadlines, projects, and clients so that you can be informed and ready to become involved at a moment’s notice. This is an amazing way of showing that you are ready for a promotion and banking a favor all at once. This is also a great time to try out new skills and dip your toe in a new department. If you’ve always had a hankering to try your hand at marketing, the summertime ‘HR hole’ gives you the time to step up. Keep your ear to the status update ground and stay on top of industry news on LinkedIn Today so you’re ready to jump in.

Act like it’s not even that nice out.  Have you ever noticed that once summer hits, the office becomes a ghost town at 6 p.m.? Or that the lunch “hour” somehow stretches to two when it’s warm enough to eat outdoors? This lazy summertime attitude doesn’t contribute much to workplace morale or productivity. Because of this, you’ll shine especially bright if you continue to show up on time, work hard, and smile just like it was an average week in October. (And when the temperature’s creeping into the triple digits, the air-conditioned office is a great place to beat the heat.) This is also an excellent time to cozy on up to the boss: show your initiative, make some killer proposals, and finish up that project a week or two before it’s due. Utilize the last hour of the day to get connected with the contacts you’ve recently met. Send them a personalized message with a tip, compliment, link or article that they might enjoy. A personal touch goes a long way. And the best news about daylight savings?  You will eventually get out of the office and still play a game of softball before the sun goes down.