Congratulations! Now that you have the job…keep it!

keep a job

By Jude Schmid and Melissa Johnson, Youth Services

The hard work is not over.  Once you have accepted the job, the real work begins.  It wasn’t easy getting the job.  But now, you need to figure out how to keep it.  Doing the work is only part of what we call “work.”  There are other things that will also influence your success with the company.  Below are some important things to help you keep your job, and grow within the company.

Attendance: Arrive on time, every day.  Return from lunch promptly, every day.  Show up for your meetings on time, every time.  This type of punctuality demonstrates respect for others and their time.  Many companies document attendance.  In some states, poor attendance and chronic lateness are grounds for termination.  This type of behavior indicates to the employer that you do not value your position or the job that you do for the company.

Dependability: Follow through.  If you’ve been given an assignment, do it.  Carry a notebook and take notes when you’re given instructions.  Make sure you ask questions when you’re confused.  It takes less time to do the project right the first time than to do it twice.  If it looks like you can’t meet a specific deadline, tell your supervisor as soon as possible.  Other people may be depending on your work. Great employees are always dependable. They do the job they are supposed to do every time, and no one has to worry that they don’t deliver the goods. A great employee can be counted to always have their work done right, when it is supposed to be done – it is a forgone conclusion that they will, and no one else has to spend any time worrying about it.

Knowledge: Find ways to expand your knowledge of the company.  Ask to attend training sessions.  On your own time, read company manuals.  Network with company professionals within and outside your department.  The more you know about how the company works, the more you can contribute to its success.  Many companies will offer tuition reimbursement programs.  Seek out courses at your local community college that will help you in your job.

Taking Direction: Great employees know how to take direction. They know how to take criticism, direction and advice gracefully and make it work for them.

Demonstrate Commitment: Those who take on new projects, get more responsibility, and ultimately, more reward.  Sometimes, you need to ask your supervisor for more work.  They may not realize that you’re capable of doing more.  Don’t wait for your supervisor to give you work.  Be proactive and ask for it.  Make sure that you are completing your existing projects successfully.  Your supervisor will not be inclined to give you more work if you’re not getting your current job done accurately.

Competence: Great employees have good working skills. It may sound obvious, but a great employee has the abilities needed to do their job, and they constantly seek ways to improve, like going to training seminars or seeking further education. Great workers have great skills.

Problem-solve: Instead of telling your supervisor about a problem, tell him/her about a solution.  Whenever you uncover a problem or face a difficult solution, figure out the solution on your own.  If it’s a big problem, you may want to discuss the solution first before acting on it.  But, regardless, your supervisor will appreciate the thought you put into turning a wrong into a right.  Your ability to help solve these problems and avoid them in the future will help your company grow, and will help your career.

Responsibility and Ownership: When you’re given a project, make it your own.  You were hired for your unique experience.  Draw on that experience to complete your work.  If you’re hired to handle customer service complaints, use your personal manners to help your customers feel more at ease.  When you make a mistake, and you know you will, accept it.  Don’t blame others.  Also, try to fix the problem.  Ultimately, it will be your solution that is remember, not the mistake you made.

Likeability: Great employees get along with other employees. Every office has one person that is in everyone else’s business and talks too loud on the phone and generally stirs things up and gets under everyone’s skin. This kind of employee zaps office morale – a great employee is a good co-worker to everyone.

Mentors: Look for people to give you guidance.  In everything that we do, there are always times we seek advice from others.  Generally, people want to help.  Look for people who have been successful in their jobs and ask them for advice when making hard decisions about your career.

Trust: Great employees don’t spread office gossip and they don’t dish company dirt. Likewise, they always tell the truth to their employer, even if it lands them in hot water.

Customer Service: In any job, you have several customers.  Those that buy the company’s product or service are the most obvious.  Other people within your organization are customers too–people that depend on your work.  Do your best to make sure that your coworkers can easily get their jobs done.  Most jobs in today’s economy are in customer service.  Whether you work as a waitress in a restaurant or in sales for a telecommunication firm, you are working with customers.  Learning how to work with others is the key to success in these types of positions.  As an employee, you are a representative of your company.  As that company’s “ambassador,” your behavior is watched carefully by your customers.  If you treat them badly, then they will assume that the company is at fault.  As a result, you will lose their business.

Participation: Great Employees participate in the day to day life of the office. They don’t bow out of meetings or skip the office birthday celebrations. These things may not be a fun part of working life, and everyone involved knows that everyone else has some place they would rather be – but a great employee wouldn’t be any place else.

Attitude: Perhaps the most important factor is a positive attitude towards your employer and your responsibilities.  Enthusiasm is contagious.  Whenever people are enthusiastic about their job, they inevitably do it better–or, at least, that’s the perception.  A simple smile will go a long way in making an unhappy customer happy again.  Get to know your co-workers.  Your attitude towards your peers is also very important.  In every job, there are responsibilities and/or coworkers that you won’t like.  Your ability to accept those negatives and still thrive and deliver quality work to your employer is valued and appreciated.

Team Spirit: Great employees are team players. They don’t constantly seek out attention or hog the limelight. Rather, a great employee works with others to make sure that the things that need to get done get done, for the good of the company.

Career Development:
For your development and to further your career with any company remains jumbled in the face of your success being mindful of changes within any business climate.  It is critical to convey the importance of striving to reach the next level of personal performance without ever assuming you have arrived.  Our strengths remain closely ties to a desire to grow beyond our current success while embracing a commitment of continued learning and self-improvement.

Tact: Great employees have tact and decorum. If there is a problem in the office, a great employee doesn’t make a scene in front of everyone else. A great employee will deal with such issues with privacy and diplomacy. Further, a great employee doesn’t tell tasteless, political or religious jokes, nor do they send emails that tell these kinds of jokes.

Remember the following items to help move you to success!

Show up every day on time

Be dependable

Ask questions when you need help

Ask for more work when you’ve successfully completed your tasks

Look for ways to add value

Look for opportunities to learn

Be a problem solver

Admit responsibility when you make a mistake

Look for mentors to help you grow

Provide excellent customer service to your customers and your co-workers

Have a good attitude and get along with your co-workers.

That’s a lot of good traits to try and acquire! Don’t be dispirited if you fail to match up to all of them. Just work on them one at a time and you’ll find your career progressing faster than you would have ever believed possible.

About Anthony Martinez

I have worked with children, youth and young adults since 2001 in the education and human services fields. I began my work with the Division of Youth Services in 2006. My current job is to support young adults in our Milestone Transitional Living program. I also am part of the team that provides training in life skills, leadership and employment to youth/young adults in the Salt Lake Valley.
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