How to keep your job

Today, the tester on my team was let-go.  It is unfortunate, because he was a nice guy and got along well with everyone on the team.  However, when unpleasant things like this happen, it causes me to evaluate the situation and the conditions that led up to this event, in hopes that I can learn from this and avoid this problem myself.

When you are working for someone, there are a few things that you always need to keep in mind:

  1. You must provide a value to your employer.  You are being paid by a company (or equiv) to do a job.  The company could have spent the money somewhere else, but they decided to spend it on you.  They expect to get a solid return on that investment, regularly.  As soon as that ceases to be, it is likely that your employer will decide to invest elsewhere, to get a better value.  Make sure that you are providing a solid value to your employer, regularly.
  2. Remember that you will have a higher-level of job security if you provide more value to your employer than they provide to you.  If you do that, it usually means you are under-paid.  This means that you are an excellent value and you have a very high ROI.  It would be a poor business decision for an employer to let you go, unless there are other factors (keep reading).  Conversely, if you are paid really well (or over-paid), if money gets tight at a company, you will have a clear target on your back.
  3. Your boss needs to validate your value.  If you are working on stuff that your boss doesn’t want you to, then you are making problems for yourself. Even though you might be providing a really great value to your employer, (maybe better than your co-workers realize, and maybe someday, they will) but beware.  You need to complete today and tomorrow before you can get to “someday”.  If your boss expects you to do something and you do something else, even if (deep-down inside) you feel it is the best thing for your employer, then you are taking a very big risk.  You better make sure your boss still believes that you are providing a value in other ways.  If your boss is frustrated by your lack of focus, productivity or obedience, then you are not providing the right value to your organization (in his opinion).  It doesn’t matter if you are right and your boss is wrong.  Your boss’s boss will probably not agree with you either.  Your boss’s boss has a special level of trust with your boss, not with you.  Rule #1 here is: make sure your boss is happy.  Everything else comes after that.  No matter what.  If you cannot stick with that, then you need to move-on because it will happen voluntarily or involuntarily.
  4. Be someone that people can count-on. If you are unreliable, or you create conflict or disregard the rules periodically, or are the cause of problems or you are a back-stabber, etc, then it will cost you, eventually.  Every boss wants dependable, trustworthy people who excel at their jobs with little or no supervision and no distractions/conflicts.  Those people are rare and when a boss finds one (or cultivates one) they hold onto them.  Be that kind of person, and doors will open for you.  In contrast, if you are a complainer or troublemaker or just seem un-trustworthy, then you will probably be baffled when there are no opportunities for you.  People like this tend to blame it on others instead of themselves.

About Tim Golisch

I'm a geek. I do geeky things.
This entry was posted in Career, Lessons Learned, Professionalism. Bookmark the permalink.

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