In the job market today, the rules of old still apply when it comes to keeping your present job. Whether you are a professional, white collar, blue collar, or no collar at all, you still need to know what the mechanics are to follow for not only keeping your job, but to also get promotions as well.
Throughout my high school and university years, I worked at a supermarket as stock clerk and cashier. When I got hired by an oil company after graduating university, I realized that there was a significant difference in the quality of the management. The bosses in the supermarkets where I worked for ten straight years, none that I remember had a college education, and many were a bit ‘rough-around-the-edges.’ All of the General Managers that I was assigned to around the world in two oil companies where I was employed for thirty years, they all held degrees in one of the following fields: accounting, finance, petroleum engineering, geology, or in physics. Their conduct as managers was totally professional, and you were expected to act accordingly. Even better, the pay was incredibly good!
I will keep my advice as general as possible, but specific where I need to, not trying to distinguish for the level of education of the employee or of the management. Inasmuch as some of the tips will apply to some and not to others, everyone should be able to get some benefit from them. Remember, I talk from experience in hiring and firing, and in promoting the best candidates to supervisory and department managerial positions. I held the following positions: International Coordinator, Finance Manager and as Controller for many years in large operations in the U.S., and in many countries around the world.
Learn and apply as much as possible from all that has been listed for your benefit, and someday when you look back, I hope that you can say, “I remember reading something that helped me to save my job; to make a load of money; and avoid many job-related problems throughout my career.”
1) If you are a relatively new employee, you have to learn to accept that certain independent behavior will have to be sacrificed–at least at the start. The job description will state what you are required to do. If you want to question or object to any part of it, it is best to do it in the early stages of your job, rather than a few months later.
2) Learn from the beginning to make friends with your management. It will be of great help toward staying ‘alive’ in your job. They don’t have to like you or be friendly to you, but that is life sometimes. As long as they find you amiable and easy to work with, that is all that matters. Your job is to win them over.
3) Make it one of your strongest points to be at work on time every day. If you are running late due to traffic, rain, or other good reasons, call the Company and tell them why. Just don’t make it a habit, nor give flimsy excuses either. Make sure that you talk to someone with authority in your department on this call. Assume nothing!
4) Be one employee that they want to keep for a long time. Nothing is more annoying to management than an employee that gossips with the other employees, and complains about Company policy on a regular basis. If you do, you will be the first to be lined up for the firing line. The cost for you to go out and float your resume to get another job is just not worth the pain.
5) Let it be your strongest point to let the management know that you are there to learn, to grow, and to work. Management will not be pleased to hire you and to train you, and see absolutely no motivation on your part to apply what you have just learned. The job ‘honeymoon’ period is over after one to two weeks on site.
6) Learn to greet the people that you work with by starting at the front door all the way to your desk. Say “Hi, how are you?” or, “Good morning everybody” to all that surround you during the day, especially the management. Give them the feeling that you are a friendly soul. You will not get away for long if they find you frowning or sour all day long, because you are dissatisfied with your work or your job in general.
7) Avoid holding grudges against your fellow employees, the management, and the Company. ‘Spit-out’ all your frustrations before you go to work, and avoid harboring these thoughts while at work. Legitimate grudges are discussed with a supervisor or a manager, and once it is done, consider it delivered. It is not your duty any longer to continue harping on something that you don’t like, expecting management to take action at your urging.
8) Most jobs require good grooming and personal hygiene, so don’t slack-off in this area. It could mean a promotion down the row for you, so invest in the proper elements for body and clean breath. It would be a shame that you miss out becoming a supervisor or manager for not monitoring this very important area. Please avoid using heavy-scented cheap colognes/perfumes. Better not to use any at all. You must keep your shoes clean and shined when working in an office environment, for that is a major sign of good grooming.
9) Keep your attitude in check at all times. You cannot afford to ‘blow your top’ at anyone or anything under any condition. That is a real No-No! You may get upset over something, but it better be important, and not some minor or insignificant thing. I have seen many good professional people hurt their careers over a blow-out that could have easily been avoided. Just to let you know, foul language at the work place will not bring glory or promotions your way either.
10) Your pride and your ego are only worth as much as the value that you place on them. If you want to keep your job for a long time, then don’t let your pride and your ego get in the way of your career. Learn to compromise by listening to all opinions. Let the management hear yours, and let it be!
11) If you make a mistake, don’t go hiding it. Face it and report it as soon as possible. Better let management know about it from you, than to find out from someone else. Mistakes don’t normally get people fired; it is your attitude toward them that will hurt you in the long run. Apologizing for the error immediately is your best policy.
12) When asked to attend Company meetings and you have to make a presentation, do your homework. Management will not be pleased to find you unprepared. Be ready, period, for that is what you are paid for. Should you have nothing to contribute at the meeting other than to be there, then you stay quiet. Your comments are not required, unless you are asked for them. While at meetings, you listen and you follow the conversations. Don’t dose off, or ‘wonder-off into space,’ for you will get called when you least expect it.
13) Be very careful with whom you share your confidences. Your spouse, if you are married, or a very close friend outside of the Company might be the only people that you can truly trust with information related to work, or of a personal nature. People at work are rarely trustworthy with information; because jealousy and envy can influence their reaction toward you. My point: choose well who you chat with at work, and even more important, don’t break confidences shared with you by other employees or management.
14) You went to school to learn and to manage others, not to be a “follower” the rest of your working life. You will make the big money when you are trained to take over departments. Don’t fall into the ‘slow-pace syndrome’ because you ‘hate’ to make a move. Get used to making moves, and make a lot of money. You want to live on a solid monthly check with a cushion of money saved, and not on dreams. Money makes dreams come true.
15) You will be one very happy individual at work and in life when you follow this guideline: You are working so that someday you can retire and continue to enjoy your lifetry this outin health and worry-free of money concerns. You must, I will repeat, you must learn early in your career to spend less than what you make every single month. LEARN TO LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS!
16) Absolutely and under no condition do you want to become a “threat” to any one single supervisor or manager. If you have plans in mind to replace any of them sometime in the future, you must keep that thought to yourself. With this strategy in mind, talk well of your management at all opportunities that you have. The management will decide if you qualify to manage others; and your first line of supervisors and/or managers will be consulted for their comments on your past performance and behavior. Your prime goal at work is to make friends not enemies. Friends will lift you, enemies will destroy you.
17) You want to consider seriously before deciding to bypass your immediate line of authority concerning an ‘issue of importance’ to you that you would like to address to management. By going around your supervisor or a manager to reach a higher level, chances are you will hurt yourself. This is just a fair warning, so think before you act!
18) Never excuse yourself from a critical meeting where your input is very important, in order to take care of a personal issue. Unless it is a matter of ‘life-or-death,’ your job comes first, all else can wait.
19) Here is a summary of some of the most important qualities that management looks for in their employees: A positive attitude, optimism, respect for others, reliability, cleanliness of employee, neatness of desk and work submitted, politeness, on-time attendance, timely submittal of work, a contributing spirit, a friendly aura, prioritization of duties, a strong drive to learn, ability to accept advice or criticism (if necessary), willingness to stay for meetings or work after working hours. An ‘eight to five’ mentality will not get you promoted to anything!
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