• Keeping Your Job

  • By “Awake!” correspondent in Brazil

    IN THIS industrial age, millions of persons work in factories, offices and stores so as to support their families. Even though they have a job, many feel the constant threat of losing it. Sometimes large numbers are suddenly laid off and, for them, finding a new job may not be easy. So, keeping their present job is of deep concern.

    What can you do to reduce the possibility of being dismissed in the event that the firm where you work has to cut the number of its employees?

    Show Interest

    In the first place, try to view the firm where you work through the eyes of your employer. How so? Well, to him the firm is very important. So he appreciates it when you take a sincere interest in its welfare. This means interest not only in the work itself but also in your personal conduct and how it affects the firm.

    Sincere interest in the firm’s welfare includes being punctual and cooperating readily in time of need, such as when overtime work is necessary or when menial jobs must be done. Those who are overly conscious of time or of compensation show that their heart is not in their work. Bear in mind that work that is done willingly, and well, is generally well rewarded.

    How could you show interest in the firm during slack moments in your department? Maybe your section needs tidying up. Or maybe you could speak to your supervisor and offer to help in another department. Employers appreciate workers who see the work that needs to be done and who take the initiative to do it. For example, it was observed in a small ice-cream shop that three girls were waiting on the customers. However, in front of the counter, many used ice-cream cups and papers were scattered on the floor, giving the store an unsightly look. If you were the owner, wouldn’t you have appreciated it if one of the girls, even though she was not hired to do cleaning, had taken the initiative to sweep up the wastepaper? Such interest in the general appearance of her work area certainly would not pass unnoticed by the owner, just as the mess on the floor did not go unnoticed by the customers.

    Be Part of the Solution

    Especially in large firms, employers usually have plenty of personnel problems. Do not add to these. Be a source of peace, not of dissension.

    If an unexpected problem related to your work does arise, think in terms of

    solutions. What could you do to help to solve the problem? And if you receive instructions on how to solve it, follow them closely.

    Yes, being part of the solution and not of the problem is certainly a good investment with a view to keeping your job.

    Honesty and Courtesy Pay

    If you had your own business , would you like to have employees that you could trust? Your employer feels that way. So, be honest with him, even in little things.

    For example, without permission, never take home something that belongs to the firm. ‘But they do not use this material anymore,’ or, ‘The firm is rich and will not miss it’ are samples of how some try to justify thievery. Remember, being honest is always the right course. Your being honest could mean the difference between losing your job and keeping it.

    How determined are you to be honest regardless of what others do? Consider this situation: A man worked as manager in a building-materials shop in Rio de Janeiro. His employer asked him to use certain shady business tactics. When the manager refused to do so, he was fired. After a time, however, the shop owner became dissatisfied with what was happening to his business and decided to call back his former worker. The offer was a better salary, permission to live near the place of work in the fine house once occupied by the shop owner and, of course, the guarantee that the employee could work without using improper selling methods.

    Another newly hired man was asked by a firm’s owner to lie about the merchandise. His reply: “If I would lie for

    you I would lie to you. No, I will not lie to you or for you.” Soon the owner made him manager of the whole establishment.

    Another important point: Is it not a pleasure to work with friendly and cheerful fellow workers? In a world where courtesy and good manners are on the wane, it’s refreshing to meet someone who still believes in making others happy.

    A bus driver in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, said: “Why shouldn’t I help to cheer up the passengers? It doesn’t cost anything to be obliging. So when someone asks to get off at a certain stop I call him, thank him for riding with me and wish him a good day. Smiles and thanks in return are a pleasant reward. When I reached retirement age, I decided to take a vacation. However, the owner of the bus asked me to come back and continue to work because the passengers were complaining about my absence.”

    Regarding this driver, the president of the National Confederation of Land Transport Workers wrote, “I found out his name in order to recommend him to you as deserving the best attention and consideration, as a fine driver, in every sense of the word, both as a human and as a professional.” Could you imagine such a driver being fired? Or having difficulty in finding another job if it were necessary? So appreciate the value of friendliness and courtesy in helping you keep your job.

    Yes, much can be done to enhance the possibility of keeping your job: Show genuine interest in your work. Be punctual. Do your best. Remember that honesty and courtesy really pay. If the day comes when the staff where you work is reduced, it may well be that you will keep your job.

    [Box on page 22]


    1. Be polite and respectful to your superiors and to fellow workers.

    2. Follow the firm’s policies. Do not suggest any great change unless you are invited to do so or have considerable experience.

    3. If you are an expert, do not refuse other work simply because it is different from your specialty.

    4. Be punctual, and do not miss workdays unless the situation is beyond your control.

    5. During work hours, do not do personal reading or work, unless you have special permission.

    6. Take an interest in your work as if the firm were your own.

    7. If there is any real need for extra work or occasional overtime, cooperate without complaint.

    8. Do not consider your employer to be an intrinsic exploiter. A well-done job will most likely be rewarded.

    9. It pays not to be so concerned about your “rights” that you forget your “duties” as an employee.

    10. If possible, avoid bothering your superiors with your personal problems, such as disagreements with fellow workers.

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