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Working Wise: Keeping Your Job

Dear Working Wise,

My company is struggling to remain profitable right now, which is making me worry about my job and how I’m going to pay my mortgage. Do you have any ideas or suggestions for how I can keep my job?
Signed, Nervous

December 23, 2015

Dear Nervous,

There are no guarantees in life, but here are some tips for people who want to turn themselves into an employee that employers don’t want to lose—in good economic times or bad.

Be Reliable

  • Be honest and trustworthy.
  • Be on time and maintain good attendance.
  • Call if you’re going to be late or can’t make it to work.
  • Keep your promises and complete your tasks on time.
  • Don’t take extended breaks or abuse your sick days.
  • Stay physically and mentally healthy.

Be Professional

  • Dress appropriately—professional and up-to-date.
  • Keep your skills and training current.
  • Double-check the quality of your own work.
  • Stay organized and keep your work area tidy.
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes.
  • Know your job and how to do it properly.
  • Respect your supervisor and co-workersavoid distractions, for example, cell phone/side conversations, during meetings.
  • Avoid excessive gossiping, personal e-mails, phone calls and web browsing.
  • Don’t share colourful stories from your personal life at work.
  • Don’t complain about your job, supervisor or co-workers on social media.

Be Proactive

  • Learn all you can about the organization and how you can contribute.
  • Offer your supervisor ideas on how you can contribute more.
  • Look for things that need to be done and do them, but check with your supervisor first.
  • Try to make your supervisor’s job easier by anticipating what they will want or need.
  • Learn more about the jobs of the people around you.
  • Learn a valuable new skill that will help you stand out.
  • Earn a new credential/license/ticket/certification that makes you more valuable.
  • Ask for help if you need it—recognizing your limits is a sign of personal strength and maturity.
  • Work safely.

Be a Team Player

  • Help your co-workers with their projects if asked by your supervisor. You will learn something new and gain a reputation as a helpful co-worker and employee.
  • Be willing to share information.
  • Support and encourage your co-workers.

Be Positive

  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Be flexible and open to taking on new tasks and learning new skills.
  • Keep learning—new skills and tasks make you a more marketable employee.
  • Ask if you don’t know how to do something. Asking shows that you want to do things right and that you’re willing to learn.

Even if you still get laid off, these positive behaviours will ensure a good reference and will put you at the top of the rehire list when the economy improves.

For more tips on how to be a valuable employee, read the Add Value: It Pays to Help Your Employer Succeed article.

Photo Credit: © iStockphoto/asiseeit

Working Wise is a syndicated newspaper column prepared by the Government of Alberta to answer work-related questions from Albertans. Do you have a work-related question? You can send it to Charles Strachey (charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca), a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services.

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