what I've learned from my current job
- Don't bother doing a fantastic first draft. It'll have amendments anyway after your boss has vetted through it, and it is not surprising to see v0.1 to v0.10 (which is not the same. This is not maths.) after some volley exchanges of emails. So for the sake of efficiency, just send out the first draft early so that you get the bounce-back early.
"Do it once and do it well" does not apply in the real world.
- Get used to it. You propose an idea to your boss, he shoots it down. Some half an hour later he comes back and "counter-proposes" to you the exact same idea. Then he submits to his boss and claims the credit.
That's the thing when your organization has that tall hierarchical pyramid. My previous job's was pretty broad and flat and the power-distance was quite short. I stretched my arm and I could touch the biggest boss.
- Continuing the previous point, you can be the one proposing the revolutionary idea and doing all the dirty work, but at the end of the day the one getting the accolade and appearing on newspaper and magazine is definitely not you. He may not even share the same office building as you!
- Wisdom from the veterans. If they give you a deadline, stick to the deadline. Better late than early. Giving them what they want early is an indication that you have nothing to do, NOT because you are efficient.
This point, I don't fully agree. But oh well, we all need a breather.
- Your boss' boss may use you to monitor your boss. Delicate balancing act, your boss is the one giving you the performance grading, but his boss is the countersigning person.
But I suggest don't screw your boss up.
Considered on-job training (OJT)?