Job Security Tips
Is there such a thing as job security? Not really. Not even
dictators have it these days, as we have seen recently. On the
other hand, there are some jobs that are more secure than
others, and there are things you can do to make any job more
secure. That latter goal is addressed in the following excerpt
from "The Survival Guide for Interesting Times."
Make Your Job More Secure
There is no ultimate security in a job (or in any one source
of income for that matter). On the other hand, there are certainly
things that you can do to make losing your job less likely. Here
are some of the steps you can take.
Know the Boss
It will always be easier for a manager or boss to let employees
go when he or she doesn't know them. In fact, however fair we
all like to think we are being, if we were managers of a large
company and had to choose which half of the employees to dismiss,
most of us would find reasons to keep some of the employees we
know better while letting go the more anonymous ones. So be sure
that whoever may have to make such decisions at some point knows
More than that; let them know if you have children or other
people who rely on you to provide for them. Do this in a very
subtle way though. You don't want to be seen as a complainer.
That brings us to the next important point.
Don't Be a Complainer
In good times bosses tolerate employees who whine and complain
all the time, as long as they do their jobs. But they are often
secretly wishing they could get rid of such workers. They can
as soon as they need to make cutbacks, so don't be a whiner.
Accept all assignments without complaint. The work has to be
done after all, and if you really don't want to do it you should
be looking for another job. Tolerate any problems at work in
silence. Get along with other employees too.
Do the Dirty Work
If there are tasks that everyone hates to do, you might want
to volunteer for them. In fact, see if there is anything that
your immediate superiors dislike doing, and offer to do that
for them. This will make you more popular with the people who
you need to be popular with.
Avoid Dark Humor
Humor in general is a sensitive area in the modern workplace,
given all the ways in which people are offended. But so called
"gallows humor" that involves jokes about the company
and the hard times it's facing, is the worst from the perspective
of job security. Suppose you had two employees working for you.
One is always making snide remarks about the company while the
other is optimistic and refrains from negative humor. Which one
would seem most helpful to the future of the business?
Arrive Early and Stay Late
If you arrive a few minutes before your boss and leave just
after her every day, you will be remembered favorably. You also
will have a better grasp of what's going on at work, since many
important conversations happen just at the start of and the end
of the day.
Don't Be a Slacker
Perhaps nothing can form a bad impression of you in the mind
of your boss faster than him catching you doing nothing, or worse.
Don't play video games on your computer at work. Don't shop online.
Don't make long personal phone calls. And if you do any of the
above, don't get caught.
Know the Right People
If there are key people in the company that are likely to
be consulted by those who make firing decisions, get to know
them. Make a good impression. Ask them what you can do better,
and then follow through on their recommendations.
If your employer has a human resources department, make a friend
or two there. These are the people who will likely know about
coming changes in the company long before others do. For example,
they can warn you if a given department will face lay-offs, so
you can transfer to a more secure part of the company.
Make Your Value Evident
Companies lay off employees for one primary reason: To save
money. If it is clear that you produce far more value than the
cost of your wages, they are much more likely to keep you around.
This is easiest to demonstrate if you have a sales position and
do well. After all, who would want to lose an employee that cost
only $50,000 per year but added double that to the bottom line?
What if you're in a position where your value isn't so easily
measured? Doing a good job in general is a good start, but there
is another way to show your value besides increasing company
revenue. It is to find ways to reduce costs. List all areas that
you know something about, and find ways to reduce expenditures
in each of them. Periodically present your findings to your superiors
and help implement changes if you can.
Of course, no one is truly irreplaceable in an employment
situation. But the closer you are to that goal, the better. For
example, if you are the only one who can keep the office computer
system running, your boss will hesitate to lay you off. Keep
in mind, though, that this is a strategy for tough times. If
you are irreplaceable in good times, you may be passed over for
promotions for the same reason.
Watch for Signs
Naturally it is helpful to notice whether lay-offs are likely,
so you can get that resume ready. But it is also a good idea
to watch for signs that your division or your particular position
might become obsolete. Then you might be able to transfer to
another department or position before it is too late.
Negotiate Your Layoff
If the time comes and you are told that you're being let go,
consider negotiating something better. For example, ask the boss
if you can work part-time instead, for less pay. Ask if there
is a position you can transfer to with a small pay cut. In bad
recessions it is better to keep your job in one form or another
than collect unemployment. You can always look for a better job
in the meantime.