Image by percy20 via FlickrWhatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might... (Ecclesiastes 9:10a)
Everyone has a fear of losing their job and the security of a steady paycheck and benefits, but during a tough economy, that fear naturally increases. With United States unemployment numbers currently hovering around the 10% mark (some would argue this number is actually closer to 15-16%), many are concerned that we are already in a deep recession.
Whether the economy is good or bad, all of us who are currently employed can be proactive in our jobs by bringing so much value to our workplace that we put our bosses in a difficult position to actually fire us if that time comes. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you should be the best employee as a testimony to those around you for His honor and glory! Even if your position ends up being terminated due to budget issues, you can always count on great recommendations from your supervisors and coworkers if you have been a great employee.
Here are some practical ideas about becoming the best employee in your workplace:
- Never criticize, condemn, or complain (wisdom from Dale Carnegie). Instead, be positive and upbeat, even if you don't feel like it. "Fake it, 'till you make it."
- Be on time to meetings or anywhere your presence has been requested. Your boss (and fellow coworkers) will always notice who is early, on time, late, or blows off the meeting.
- Act like a professional. Always be well dressed for your work culture, be well groomed, have good etiquette, and be reliable.
- Apply the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) to your work responsibilities. 80% of your results will come from the top 20% of your work activities or responsibilities. What this means for you: spend 80% of your daily time focused on these top 20% activities. Your results will increase, and you will bring more value to the workplace.
- Try to be in an area that noticeably adds to your company's bottom line, and work hard to increase their bottom line. Whether we like it or not, businesses, churches, and other non-profits all survive based on cash flow. Figure out ways to decrease expenses and increase income.
- Always do your homework. If your boss asked you to do something, then do it on time. If you want to really impress them, do it early!
- Focus on productivity. Being busy doesn't cut it anymore. Being on the phone all the time and sending out hundreds of emails means nothing unless this is making you and your company more productive and increases their bottom line.
- Be receptive to criticism from your boss. Don't be defensive. Just suck it up and take it, think about the validity of the criticism, and then make immediate improvements in your work. Discuss a plan for improvement with your boss.
- Become a lifelong learner. Read books on your area of expertise. Attend seminars. Network with others in your profession. Plan on doing this for the rest of your career, especially during this great information age.
- Work independently. Your immediate supervisor should be able to trust you to work hard and be productive without him having to look over your shoulder, telling you what to do.
- Be confident. Nobody likes to work with a basket case! If you are having mental, emotional, or spiritual problems, then seek the assistance of a trained Christian counselor outside the workplace.
- Be a team player. Volunteer to help get the project done when coworkers are struggling.
- Always be offering solutions. Your suggestions or solutions may or may not be accepted, but you will gain a reputation for being a problem solver.
- Build strong relationships in the workplace. Maintenance personnel can be just as important as the CEO for increasing the productivity of the company. Be kind, gracious, and helpful to all employees, whether they are above or below you. We can't accomplish every aspect of our job in a vacuum. We truly do need each other.