Working in corporate America can have its advantages. There are health benefits, 401ks, a steady pay check, room for advancement, training, and if you are fortunate — an attainable career path.
However, what is interesting is that employees often times forget that they are just that – employees. Many employees get too comfortable and forget that they are- dispensable. In fact, as long as you work for someone else , they have the power to retain you or release you. So, if you like what you do (and even if you don’t) and need to stay employed, here are some tips to help you keep your job instead of losing it when you least expect it.
Bad Attitudes – This really needs no explanation, but for those who may need a reminder, here it is: you are being paid to perform. No one is paying you to complain or have an attitude that clouds you and the people in your work environment. If you find that every time you go to your job and are in a bad mood, than you either need to find a new job or a way to turn your negative disposition into a more positive one. You will be amazed at how far a positive attitude can take you. The right attitude may even extend your job stay when it comes down to the decision of who is going to be laid off first, or fired. Staying positive can be very contagious, especially in a difficult work environment. So, the next time you feel a bad attitude coming on, try to think of something that will help turn your attitude around. For some, it might just be imagining being without a job! So, get it together and don’t let your poor attitude be the determining factor that gets you out of the door before you are ready!
Trusting Co-workers – There is a saying that goes like this: never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. In other words, if you are not ready for some information to go out about you, then please keep it to yourself. There is nothing worse than telling a co-worker a secret ie: you are looking for another job; someone in the office is getting fired; or worse – spreading a rumor that you heard and it all points back to you. Unless you have been personal friends with someone for years (and even sometimes good friend’s tongues may slip occasionally). It is best to keep secrets a secret! If you don’t, then be prepared to suffer the consequence as being labeled as untrustworthy or the office gossiper.
Lazy Fridays – We love this day because it means that the weekend is definitely here! Right? Wrong! It’s still a work day.The week END starts Saturday. Remember, most people work five days a week? And yes, Friday is also one of those days. This is typically the day where people dress down, and sometimes may not be as productive because most people are counting the hours left on the clock until their work day is over. And while you are counting the hours down, don’t think for one minute that your boss is not watching you count down EVERY Friday and keeping a count on how often you do this. You may think no one is paying attention. But, believe this: there is always someone who is keeping tabs and is waiting for just the right moment to share it. So, stay focused on Friday. It can be difficult. But, unless you have been given the time off or the culture is okay with a Lazy Friday, then it’s time for you to start working like it’s Monday!
Pals with the boss – I’m not saying it can’t work. I’m just saying that unless the boss was a personal friend of yours before you got hired, be careful! Again, you are still an employee who works for the boss. So, if you think that getting closer to the boss will help you get that promotion by slipping confidential information to him about other co-workers, then think about this: Would you trust someone who was always talking about other people to you? If they talk about others so freely, what makes you think they would not say the same thing about you? Don’t throw anyone under the bus, especially to your boss. One day the boss might be driving that same bus that someone through you under!
Getting too comfortable – Talking too much and working too little, is getting too comfortable. Unless you have something in writing that states that no matter what you you will have a job for life, then you better do the job that you were hired to do.
If you haven’t already started, then begin today by creating a standard of excellence. Maintain that level of professionalism that got you the job in the first place. Be an example for others, and always set your standards high. Remember, the job is not promised to you. So, assume that it is yours until you do something that no longer deems you worthy of keeping it. – In other words stay uncomfortable. Stay awake, be alert and wait till you get home to sit back, relax and put your feet up!
Not staying engaged – Are you keeping your skills up to date and requesting training that you may need to become more proficient in your workplace? Do you uphold the company’s standards? Are you proactive in meetings or just there in body only? If you have answered NO to ANY of these questions then you may want to re-evaluate your position with your job. If you want to keep it, start figuring out ways that you can help your company’s bottom line. Take more initiative in meetings or being active in special projects. Sometimes when you do things outside of your regular job description, you are able to showcase a skillset that managers or other co- workers didn’t know that you had. Who knows, this “secret weapon” could be your entry into a new job assignment or promotion.
Paying attention to warning signs – We all have feelings that make us feel uncomfortable. Some people choose to ignore it, and others choose to listen to their gut. If you are in a situation where you are seeing a lot of turn- over and or disgruntled employees, these are true signs of deep rooted issues that you should not be ignored. Don’t walk around with your head in the sand and be afraid to inquire about the rumblings that you are hearing. It’s good to be proactive and it’s also good to see if there is a way that you might be able to assist in changing an uncomfortable work environment. Maybe you have an idea that will help the department thrive. If you are aware of some issues that you think you can help resolve within your department, speak up! But, if you don’t think that anything that you say or do will change things positively then you need to make a decision about your own well-being and job security. Whatever that decision is, you have to be able to live with it and feel secure in knowing that you made the right one.