As of January 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that there were 10.2 million unemployed persons in the country, and 3.6 million were considered long-term unemployed – which means that they had been unemployed for at least 27 weeks.
While it appears that the economy is slowly on the road to recovery, companies are still trying to improve their bottom lines by any means necessary. And sometimes, this includes reducing the number of employees on payroll. There are many factors that may determine who gets the ax during a lay-off.
Some companies will choose to lay off workers with the most seniority, since they are usually the employees with some of the highest salaries and other benefits. Besides age discrimination, workers may also be laid off for political and other types of illegal reasons that are usually hard to prove in a court of law. In addition, employees in a particular division may be laid off because the company no longer manufactures the particular product that the division was responsible for.
However, companies also make lay-off decisions based on such factors as work performance and efficiency. Mediocre employees are at greatest risk of being selected for termination when these are the criteria. While an employee may not be performing poorly enough to justify an individual firing, lay-offs provide a perfect opportunity for ridding the company of low and mediocre performers.
Unfortunately, many mediocre employees don’t know that they are average, ordinary, middle-of-the-road performers. Some of them have been taught, “Keep your head down, be quiet, and do your job,” and they take this advice to heart. However, if you don’t stand out at work, your fate may rest on the results of a raffle or some similarly random selection process.
On the other hand, your company may be in great shape and is actually thinking of hiring new workers and promoting some of the existing employers. You want to be on the promotion list, but again, if you’re considered a mediocre employee, it’s doubtful that you would be on anyone’s radar. So keep reading to discover six ways to decrease your chances of being laid-off and position yourself for a promotion.
6 Do Your Job
“Do your job,” may sound overly simplistic, but apparently, this is not a concept that has gained universal acceptance among employees. If you willingly agree to accept a job and provide a certain service for a certain fee, your part of the agreement is to actually do the work that you’re being paid to perform.
No one should have to stand over you to ensure that you’re working. After all, this isn’t your mother asking you to take out the trash or clean up your room. It’s a professional relationship and you should treat it as such. However, employee productivity levels have decreased so much that an employee who comes to work and actually works is bound to stand out.
5 Stop Looking At The Clock
Yes, you only get paid to work a certain amount of time each day, especially if you’re hourly. However, whether you’re hourly or salaried, don’t show up one minute before you’re scheduled to begin work, and then leave exactly when your shift is over. If you do, whether intentionally or not, you’re sending the message that you hate your job and you can’t stand to be there a minute longer than you have to.
Even if you clock in and out, being at work 15 to 30 minutes earlier will create a good impression on the management staff – as will lingering a few minutes after your shift is over. If you’re salaried, you certainly shouldn’t be the last person to arrive and the first person to leave, especially if you’re leaving before you complete your work.
4 Always Go Above And Beyond
If you do everything that’s listed in your job description, that makes you . . . average. After all, it’s a standard job description. All employees are given a job description and are expected to perform the listed duties. So you’re doing what everyone else is expected to do – although some employees don’t perform their duties (see point #1). However, if you want to shine, you need to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Consider the sports industry. All of the players that we consider to be “mediocre,” are actually doing what they’re paid to do. But the “star” players, whether we love or hate them, stand out because they play at a higher level.
3 Know Your Job
However, you can’t play at a high level of excellence unless you know your job. When you really know your job – inside out, upside down, back and forth, left and right – you can perform it in your sleep. And you keep getting better at it.
You study ways to improve your performance and be more efficient. You understand how your job fits within the company’s goals and objectives. You understand how your job affects your co-workers and how it affects the company’s bottom role. And this wealth of knowledge will make you an indispensible member of the organization, and others will take notice of you.
2 Don’t Undermine Your Co-workers
Never seek ways to shine at the expense of making your coworkers look bad. If they’re lazy and incompetent, management will recognize this fact sooner or later. However, it’s not your job to point out this fact. For one reason, your efforts may backfire, and your bosses may question your motives and begin to view you more suspiciously. Also, whether you like your coworkers or not, if you start reporting them, you could end up with a bull’s eye on your back.
While you thought they were lazy and shiftless, you will be unpleasantly surprised when you learn that revenge is a powerful motivator that causes them to work around the clock plotting your demise. And that’s not the type of spotlight you want.
1 Get Involved
Join the company’s baseball or basketball team, or volunteer to help paint houses or whatever else the company endorses and participates in. While volunteer activities are optional for most employers, many of them are mandatory for upper-level management. So attending these events, and working or playing with the powers-that-be will give you an advantage over your fellow employees who choose not to participate.
Sporting events allow you to display another, less-formal side, and it also reinforces the notion that you are a team player. Volunteer activities show your bosses that you’re a selfless person who gives back to the community. So take advantage of these types of opportunities to stand out.