Don’t get the ax

Congratulations on passing the interview process.  You now have a job, and the real work is about to begin.  The hardest part of this process, once you have found a job, is keeping it.

I worked for a company in Denver that printed material, pulled orders and shipped them.  When I started with them, there were six of us pulling material off warehouse shelves, packaging them up, and shipping them all over the world.  There were days when we would ship over 300 orders.  I was there about two weeks when the first round of layoffs happened.  I half expected to be looking for work quickly, but miraculously I still worked there. The layoffs took three people from our department, so we were left with three.  Two weeks later, there was another round of layoffs.  Once again, I was spared the ax; however, the supervisor, and the other employee, were gone.  This left me running a department by myself.  Somehow, I still managed to get orders pulled and shipped on time.  If I had to have help, I called the management, trained each person on a specific task, and still got the orders out on time.  The point of that anecdote is that by following certain principles, I was able to keep my job even though I was only there a short time.

Make quality your number one priority.  Some companies talk about requiring that you work at a particular speed, but if it compromises quality, the company will lose customers, and you will lose a job.

Anticipate the needs of the customers, as well as the company.  The best way to do this is to place yourself in their place.  What would you expect from the company if you were the customer, or from an employee if you were the owner of a company?

Don’t try to compare yourself to other employees, or worry about what they are doing.  The only person you have to compete with is yourself.  Learn from what other employees are doing right, and ignore what they are doing wrong.  As far as what people are doing wrong, that is management’s worry.

The worst phrase uttered in any company is, “That’s not my job.”  Not only is it shortsighted, but when it comes to layoffs or firings, those who say things like that will be the first to go.  If you are willing to cross train, you will be a more valuable asset to the company, and they won’t be so eager to let you go.

Many people think about teamwork as transferring the responsibility of their work to the supervisors, and not themselves.  If you want a job to last, learn to take responsibility for your own work.  A supervisor’s job is to organize the team so that the work is done in a timely manner, but only you can make your work something special.  Remember, what you get out of your job depends solely on what you put into it.

Be creative with your work, and take initiative.  If you feel that people would benefit from a better method of doing a certain task, come up with a better way and suggest it.  If the managers will not listen, or come up with “We have been doing it the same way, and don’t want to change It.”, then do it yourself.  Don’t be a brown nose and continue doing your job inefficiently.  If you change it and it works, they will see your point, if it doesn’t, then you will know and you can change it.

If someone needs help, whether it’s a customer or another employee, don’t walk away.  If you can’t help because of a task, your supervisor told you to do, make sure to let the supervisor know that someone else needs help.  You never know when you might need help, and it makes you look better in the end.

Work within the company policies.  Many companies make their policies to protect your safety within their walls, and to protect the rights of everyone else.  If you disagree with a policy, tell them, but be ready to explain your idea of a solution.

By law, companies have to give you breaks, but while you are on the clock keep working.  For one thing, your work will be done faster, and the other thing, your company will have no reason to complain.

This last point isn’t about keeping the current job, but it’s important in future jobs.  When it’s time to leave the company you’re working for, be considerate and give the company two weeks notice.  Not only that, but make sure you work hard and with quality for the full two weeks.  This will make you look good to future employers and they will be that much more willing to hire you.

Challenge: When you work, be safe, be productive, and be respectful, and you will always have work.


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4 Responses to “Don’t get the ax”

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