1. Never, ever, ever, ever turn down free training. There are free training seminars given all the time. I have met the leaders in these classes. You meet more people, and you learn something new, or you keep your skills fresh.
2. Don't complain too much. Look, we are all human, including the supervisors. We all have families, and we are all overworked and underpaid. No one cares that you feel like it is unfair you are doing more work then anyone else. BUCK UP OR LEAVE. Don't bring others down in the process. Your career will reflect your time management skills.
3. If you do have an true complaint, use the chain of command. I personally had to take a complaint to the top levels, and guess what. Instead of being downsized, I was patted on the back for how I handled the situation. I went up the chain slowly, very slowly (I gave each level 45 days to handle the situation) and kept moving up until I saw results. BUT, here is the key, and I stress this, don't slack on you job. DO NOT MEET with investigators on work hours (even though you are allowed to). I used to put in a leave slip for one hour, and it kept the investigators on track also. OR I would meet with them after work or during lunch. Also, Do not, DO NOT, talk about your issue in the work place. If you have a complaint come to work like normal, smile, and do your work. Let the system work without your whinning.
4. No Office gossip. That sucks! And if you get caught doing it, admit it, apoligize, make it right, and move on. AND don't do it again.
5. Yes, take risks. If you feel something needs changing, go to your supervisor and ask them about this situation, and tell them how you would like to implement the change. They may let you try it out. If they say no, try again in 6 months, their attitude may have changed.
6. Use any approved volunteer time and use it well. I have just been admitted to the higher levels of CFC because I have been doing the lower levels for years. Loved it, and was asked to join the movers and the shakers of our local group. Now, I am doing what I love, plus I just expanded my network to other Federal agencies in the area.
7. Oh and my one pet peeve - don't dare put in a comp time sheet for every single little hour you work overtime. Look, most of us, talk around the coffee pot, take a few more extra minutes for lunch once in a while, are allowed to run a quick errand on Gov time once in a while... so give it up. If you turn in a comp time sheet for something you should have finished while you were gossiping, then you are not going to go far. My boss tells us to turn them in when we think we need them, especially when he gives us extra work, but come on. If you work late 30 minutes just once a week, and you want to turn in a comp time sheet, you are in the wrong job. If you think you are going to work 5-10 more hours then normal - then yes put in a comp time sheet, this helps your office ask for more people, plus it helps your boss track and transfer work equally.
BUT, remember there needs to be a balance of what you are getting from your job, and how much you are giving.
8. Can't say this enough - Work hard! Geez. This is the Government. If you want a cushy job, go somewhere else. We need hard working people who will not only work hard, but work well. Learn to like people and work hard for them.
9. Network at work. Even if you are a teleworker, you can go to some meetings, or e-mail some of the people who you may work for one day. Keep up! Look at the people who are moving up fast.... get to know them, and ask them how they are doing it. I have had my eyes set on a particular person from a long time ago. I told him 5 years ago that when he "makes it" I would be on his team. Well, guess what, he is one step from "making it" and last year he asked me for my resume. People like him are not stupid. Within 2 years he will need to form a team of people who work well with him. Don't be fooled. We all do this, and powerful people are always looking for people to round out their future teams. Learn from that.
10. DON'T use people. After all I just said it sounds like I am pushing you to use people to your own advantage. NOPE, I am saying you better have alot to offer so they can USE YOU appropriately. If you have nothing to offer to a group, you will be the weak link. Plus, You better start looking to form your own personal team for when you have "made it". Pay back those who have worked so hard for you in the past. Remember those people, they helped make you, and they can help break you. Yep - I will admit it, and you better believe it. This is how Government and ALL big corporations work. So, learn the rules, and work well within the rules. You will do well.