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Easy rules to keep the job you have

- Jan 18, 2013

Some people will keep the same job for decades. Others can’t seem to hold a job for more than a couple of months.

If you are one of these people who can’t hold a job and don’t know why, here’s a partial list of ways to stay out of trouble. This list is based on interviews and discussions with hundreds of managers in dozens of businesses. It isn’t a scientific list; it is designed to practical advice.


Your duties – These are the things that you need to remember:

  1. Management is not the enemy – Despite the general feelings of employees, managers are not your enemy. You may not like certain policies, but chances are the person in from of your delivering the news had nothing to do with deciding that policy. Be cool to them. They are just paid employees just like you are.
  2. You have a schedule, be there for it – It isn’t difficult, but if you can’t get to work on time, don’t take the job. Think about it for a minute: When you are going to be 20 minutes late, who is the first person you think of? The boss, right? But it isn’t the boss who takes it in the shorts when you aren’t there. It is your co-workers. And guess who can make your life miserable. That’s right: your co-workers.
  3. If you are sick, go to a doctor – You are likely to be sent home if you are legitimately sick. Take a minute to see it from the boss’ perspective: There’s a 75% chance that you are lying, based on the behavior of your co-workers. So, either go to a doctor or go to work. It will make everyone’s life simpler.
  4. Don’t spread rumors or discontent – Everyone has a bad day at their job. Everyone needs to blow off steam. Don’t be one of those people who does nothing but complain every day they go to work. Don’t waste a lot of time talking trash about other people or the management. Just try to go to work and try to be pleasant. Be a crab makes everyone miserable, including you.
  5. Don’t steal (or appear to steal) – Don’t take something with the intent of “paying for it later.” Don’t bring home things that you know are supposed to stay in the office. Even if your reasons are pure, there is no way for management to know that. Just don’t give anyone a reason to think badly of you.

That’s some of what is expected of you.

So, what do you get in exchange? What should you expect?

Your rights and privileges – This is what your employer should do in exchange for doing what we wrote about above.

  1. A paycheck, on time and cashable – This should be the least you can expect. If you paycheck is late, so are you, permanently. Get out of there and find a new job, today.
  2. Respect – No one should ever call you names, treat you rudely or hit you at work. You have a right to be treated like a human being, at least that.
  3. Your “personal zone” – No one should ever be closer to you than you want them to. Your person, your body is yours and no one ever has a right to violate that, even if they are your boss.
  4. Decency with regard to others – Your boss should never spread rumors or discontent either, not about you or anyone else. Don’t be a part of it and don’t tolerate it. If it continues, get out.

Office relationships are awkward enough without a lot of nastiness. If you stay on the good side of the rules, you can and should expect that others will too.

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