Lessons From Rodney Dangerfield – How to Get a Little Respect


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Gaining respect and recognition at work takes more than hard work and expertise. You've got to learn the game, play it, and toot your own horn.

I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.
– Rodney Dangerfield

The other day, I received an email from a person I’d met at the national Financial Blogger’s Conference in Chicago. Here’s the first part of it…

Hi Stacy,
We are running a poll on GoBankingRates to find out – of all the personal financial experts you know, who, above all, is the favorite? I would love it if you and your readers would vote!  Here’s the Poll: Come Jan 1st, we will announce who was voted as the most beloved expert.

When I went to the site, I found the following list of potential prize-winners to choose from:

  • Suze Orman
  • Dave Ramsey
  • Ramit Sethi
  • David Bach
  • Jeff Yeager
  • Warren Buffett
  • David and Tom Gardner
  • Ric Edelman
  • Robert Kiyosaki
  • Liz Pulliam Weston
  • Clark Howard

Notice anyone conspicuous by their absence? I did – me.

I’ve been offering money advice on nationwide TV for 21 years. I’ve been a CPA for 30 years, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options, securities supervisory, real estate and life insurance. And it’s not like I’m not out there: More than 10 million people see a Money Talks News story on TV or online every week. Yet someone who personally knows me wants me to go to their site and vote for one of my competitors. Worse yet, they want me to tell you to do the same.

Rodney Dangerfield’s got nothing on me.

While some of the people on the list above may be beloved, they aren’t experts, at least in my opinion. So why are they there? It’s not because they’re smart when it comes to money. It’s because they’re smart when it comes to promoting themselves: something that matters in any profession.

If you can relate, here are three simple steps that might help you gain additional recognition in your chosen field…

Step 1: Learn the rules of the game

Ever sat down with friends from work and said things like, “Why did so-and-so get that promotion when everyone knows they’re an idiot?” Or, “Why does Whositz get all the accolades when I do twice the work in half the time?” If you have, you were doing what I was just doing in the paragraphs above: whining.

While whining about the unfairness of life is a fun post-work pastime, it won’t earn you any respect. What will is learning the rules of whatever game you’re playing.  Because while recognition should come solely from a job well done, that’s not always, or even often, the case.

If you want to get noticed, observe the person or people you’d like to do the noticing. Your boss or team members may respond to anything from working overtime to a good joke. They may respond to people who show up early, do charity work, or attend their church. Forget what’s “fair.” Focus on the way it is.

Step 2: Play the game

I’ve given a speech or two about how to get on local TV news. The way this game is played is simple: Do the reporter’s work for them.

Every day in every newsroom, reporters and producers have a problem: They need news to print or broadcast. If you want to get noticed, solve their problem by supplying a good story. Come up with a “hook” – generally a problem of some sort – then supply someone to interview who has that problem, then the solution to that problem: your advice. Next thing you know, you’re on TV or in the paper. (Or, in the case of some of the people above, on Oprah.)

The same thing will work at your job. Your boss has problems and goals. Through either conversation or observation, learn what they are, then help solve their problems or meet their goals. Next thing you know, you’ll be closer to meeting your goals too.

Step 3: Bang your own drum

When I got the offending email above, I could have just whined, then deleted it. What I did instead was whine, then send back an email saying that my favorite expert wasn’t on their list – because my favorite expert was me.

They responded by adding me to their list of experts.

There’s a fine line between giving yourself the credit you deserve and sounding like an egomaniac. But when you’ve done something that warrants recognition and you’re not getting it, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little publicity. Too embarrassed to toot your own horn? Here’s an idea: Make a pact with a co-worker or two. This month, you’ll toot their horn. Next month, they’ll toot yours.

Speaking of which, since I have few co-workers to help, how about tooting mine? Go to this link and vote for me as your favorite money expert. It will only take a second, and I’ll be forever in your debt.

And now, a few more choice lines from the late and great Rodney Dangerfield…

  • When I was a kid my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.
  • On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.
  • I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

Want more? Here’s where I got them.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

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