How to Keep Your Job – Rule 1 Edition
If what I am reading or hearing is any indication, just about anyone who is receiving a paycheck in this economy is worried about how long that paycheck delivery will last. More to the point, they are concerned that the next knock on the door will be a grim reaper-style visit from their boss. “Joe – I have some bad news.” You can guess the rest.
Mr. ToughMoneyLove is going to make it easy for you. You don’t need to read all of that other stuff. I know the secret for increasing your odds of keeping your job. There is one simple rule: Make your boss look good. (Well, there is that other rule about not messing with your boss’ love interest, but you knew that one.)
Following Rule 1 is not so easy. I say “not so easy” because so many employees can’t seem to follow it. How do I know that? Because I’m one of the bosses in our business and we’ve had a number of employees who specialized in not making me look good. Most of them applied their “don’t make the boss look good” skills to the other bosses as well. That’s how they became former employees.
Right away some of you are thinking “I can’t follow that rule. My boss is so bad no one can make him/her look good.” That is negative thinking – the kind that will get you fired. Remember, even if your boss is incompetent in his actual job skills, he may be excellent at following Rule 1 himself. If he makes his boss look good, his job is probably safe. If it sounds unfair, it probably is. But that’s the way things work in the world of bosses and the people they can fire.
How you follow Rule 1 depends on what kind of job you have. In my business, I need to look good in front of clients and Judges. Therefore, the younger lawyers who work with me on projects need to focus on that at all times. Over the years, I have given this little speech several times to young lawyers: “First,” I tell them, “you must protect the client’s interest. Second, you must make me look good in front of clients and judges. If you do these two things, you will have a successful career here.”
So how do you violate Rule 1? There are lots of ways. Too many employees seem to discover them. One is to go out of your way to take credit for good results when, in fact, you should be giving credit to others, like your boss. This is where ambition gets in the way of job preservation.
Another path to Rule 1 violation is not to take responsibility for bad results, even if you think your boss is the one who messed up. In other words, taking one for the team can be a pure act of job preservation.
The fastest path to a Rule 1 violation is to make a mistake that becomes apparent to a client or customer. Even if you step up and take responsibility, your boss still looks bad. So, if you are going to screw up, make sure you do it in a non-public way.
So that’s my lecture on how to keep your job. Give it a try. What’s the worst that can happen – you stay employed for another week?
I wanted to mention of a couple of things I read this week that may interest you as well.
No Credit Needed wrote about his use of zero-based budgeting which I also believe in. If our government could only get on this program as well, we all would be better off.
Single Guy Money told us of how he didn’t get the investment property he was after. I liked this because it demonstrated financial discipline in not getting emotionally invested in the transaction which can cause you to overpay and get in trouble.
The old can’t vs. won’t argument was the focus of No Debt Plan. How many times have we heard broke people whine that they “can’t” cut something out of their budget when the truth is that they “won’t.”
My writing appeared in these personal finance carnivals this week. There is lots of other excellent writing to be found in these carnivals so take a look:
Enjoy Valentines Day. Be sure to love the one you’re with.