January 19, 2014

ON THE JOB: Teamwork makes the dream work

by Shannon Niedzwicki Guest columnist

---- — Have you ever heard the phrase “Teamwork makes the dream work”? Do you consider yourself to be a “team player”? Have you offered to help on a project that “wasn’t your department” or “not part of your job”? If you think that teamwork doesn’t matter to your organization, think again.

It is easy to work on a project in your own department, with employees you work with on a daily basis, but think about stepping outside your box and helping advance the bigger picture. Here at Ivy Tech Community College, we’re divided into so many different departments — Career Services, Admissions, Financial Aid, the academic schools and so on — that we sometimes forget we’re all on the same playing field, that we’re all working toward the same goal. The same is true for any company or any organization of any size at all. When the “not so glamorous” tasks come up, no matter the department, jump on them. Help out your team.

Lately I have been stepping out of my box and helping with our admissions and enrollment activities as much as possible. I also volunteer to help with advising any time I can and will teach our orientation class whenever possible. “Why?” you ask. Not only does it help the broader team; it also gives me more knowledge about the college and adds credentials to my resume. In the process, I work together with new team members to overcome obstacles and we have the opportunity to learn about each other. You never know what great bonding experiences may come when you volunteer to help in a different department.

If you’re feeling in a slump in your current position, volunteering to support another project could be the key to renewed enthusiasm and success. Teamwork is going to expand your areas of expertise and that can improve your individual performance. A stint outside your day-to-day duties may actually increase your job satisfaction. Giving your time to another department shows commitment to your organization and its overall mission. This is something employers want to see from their employees; it shows you have passion for your organization and are willing to help your team whenever possible.

“Teamwork makes the dream work” is not only a catchy phrase; it could be the difference between being successful and being the lonely man out.

Shannon Niedzwicki, director of Career Services for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, writes an occasional series of columns on finding jobs and succeeding in the workplace. For more information, email Niedzwicki at