By Frank Ofili
Over the years I have come to understand that there are many little things employees take for granted and which eventually; inevitably, send many back to the labour market. With unemployment being so deeply entrenched in our country today, it remains a puzzle to me why many would gamble with that which puts food on their dining table. Is it ignorance, or laziness?
The employment market is now so competitive with new graduates coming out every year to meet their unemployed older ones. Therefore, if you are one of those who is lucky to have a job, it has become imperative for you to know how to keep it. Adequate useful information can help you grow in your chosen career. The first thing you need to understand is the law of employment. The universal law of hiring states that an employer will only hire and retain you as long as he is convinced that you will reproduce, or are producing, more than it cost him to employ you.
You also need to understand the difference between a job and work. A job is a piece of work that attracts remuneration. It demands your mental or physical impute. You are not doing your employer any favours by doing your job. That is why he pays you a salary. You attract your remuneration through your mental and physical impute. This means that your employer needs you to contribute to the growth and development of the organization. The way you can do this is by doing your job and getting paid for it. Work, on the other hand, needs not necessarily attract remuneration, and it does have to be a regular activity.
Employers constantly look out for employees who make things happen, not those who watch things happen. They need those who work with little or no supervision, those who deliver on set goals. If you are in paid employment, you should know that you have been hired to solve a problem with your mental or physical impute. The truth is no employer pays for efforts; they only pay for out-put. So it is important you understand the contractual relationships between you and your employer before starting or picking up any job. Such details are usually stated in appointment letters and staff handbook.
The Golden Rules of Keeping your job as revealed below have been divided into five major categories, namely:
- Time Management
- Attitudes to Boss and Superior Authority
- Attitude to Colleagues; and
- Personal Appearance
We all have the same amount of time. The only thing that matters is how we make use of it. Time is the raw material for success. Employees who make the best use of their time will increase their rate of productivity and by extension that of the organization. Any productive staff will remain a high-value asset to his employer. So here are the golden rules for time management.
- Go Early to Work: Get to your office before the stipulated resumption time. But it is not enough to get to work early and be idling away before resumption time. Plan the day’s activity ahead. Do not give excuses about traffic; do not make going to work late a regular occurrence. If it means making some sacrifice for you to get to work early, do it. It is worth it. Take early resumption of work as if there is some reward attached to it.
- Avoid Habitual Lateness to Work: It is one thing to come late once in a while, but when it becomes a regular habit, it can affect the punctuality and productivity of your colleagues, especially your subordinates. We all know that sometimes getting to work late may be inevitable because of some unforeseen occurrence, but when it becomes a habitual attitude, it may cost you your job.
- Avoid Closing Before Official Closing Time: Avoid closing before the official closing time. You are being paid to work for a specific period of time every day. Each time you close before the official time, you cheat, and the consequence of this is that you are perceived as not willing to sacrifice for the organization. This may prove to be very costly one day. It may deny you career growth.
- Avoid Frequent Absenteeism: I once did a study for my former employers to track the occurrence of absenteeism. The result showed that there was a prevalence of absenteeism on Fridays and Mondays than other days of the week. The result further showed that the staff working in branches located in Lagos, Abuja, and Kano recorded a higher rate of absenteeism on Fridays and Mondays, in particular among the married male staff. We discovered that this category of staff had their families living in the country side, and therefore usually visit them on Fridays and return on Mondays, thus making the company lose two days out of 5 days of these employees week-day work. Another result showed that Lagos and Port-Harcourt recorded the next higher rate of absenteeism on Fridays and Mondays among young male and female staff. This, due mainly to weekend social/religious activities. The whole point I am making is that your employer does not have to lose the precious working hour because of your personal problems. If you are guilty of this misconduct, be sure it is going to backfire sooner or later, and you will be at the losing end.
- Avoid Chatting, Pinging and Other forms of Social Media When you are Supposed to be Working: Unless they are work-related, it is advisable to avoid these while you are working. For one thing, they have the potential for making you lose concentration, which could inevitably lead to mistakes. Those mistakes might turn out to be costly for you. For another, doing any of these while working will eventually affect your out-put. Finally, it sends a wrong signal to you. So save your gist for break time, unless it is necessary and work-related. Even when it is work-related, be professional and responsible about it.
- Do Not Engage the Official Telephone for Personal Use: Avoid using the company’s phone to call your friends and relations unless it is absolutely necessary. It is, in fact, advisable to let your friends and family know that it does not serve your interest for them to give you pleasure calls on the office telephone. Clients trying to get across to the organization for profitable business venture could end up getting frustrated when you are on the line, and the business could be transferred to another organization. Besides, you may never know if the organization takes call log of their official phones. If they do, this may give you away.
- Do Not Send Your CV via your official PC: Nothing sends an employee out of a job faster than sending a job application or CV via official PC. Most large organizations I know take the back-up of their files now and then. Any personal activity you perform on your official PC is likely to be backed-up along with other documents and stored in another storage medium. One day it will prove to be fatal for you.
- Avoid Sleeping While On Duty: Your employer did not employ you to come and sleep in the office. Those who sleep during official time are in danger of being fired. Why? Because sleeping on duty is a sign of being unproductive. And if you are unproductive, why should your employer still keep yours in employment. Some people give the mundane excuse that they are feeling unwell that is why they sleep on duty. This is an unacceptable excuse. If you are sick, it is best for you and the organization if you stay away from work.
- Do Not Cultivate the Habit of Taking Extended Lunch Hours or Eating in the Office: Report back to your duty immediately after observing your approved lunch hour. Do not use your lunch time to go home and check your children or bring them back from school. You might not make it back in time. Therefore make adequate outside arrangement for this. Also, do not take an alcoholic drink during your break time. The odor will never go off no matter how hard you try to suppress it with candy. Similarly, some people have the habit of eating breakfast soon after they arrive at their desk. They spend the next one-hour taking breakfast. Some, especially ladies, also go to the ladies soon after arriving office to powder their face and brush their hair. They spend the next 30 or so minutes on this. And these are people who came late to work in the first place. Before they commence the day’s work, it is well almost 10 A.M. How do you justify this kind of attitude? Without knowing it, you are conveying wrong signals which will not augur well for your career.
- Avoid Engaging in Religious Activities While at work: Unless you are a clergyman, a Muslim cleric or some church or mosque worker, do not be so naive as to believe that being too spiritual in the office will place you in the good books of your employers. On the contrary, it may have the opposite effect on your career. You may not believe it but reading your Bible or Quran when you are supposed to be working does not impress your employers. Your office is neither a church nor a mosque. You are paid to work, not to pray. Even God Himself will frown at your conversion of work time to prayer time. If what we read in the Bible is anything to go by, God worked for six days and rested on the 7thday. And He said that if anyone does not work, he has no right to eat. So give Caesar that which belongs to him and God what belongs to God. If you are truly a believer, you do not need to convert work time to prayer time to protect your job. You can read the scriptures and pray during lunch time, and of course, at home
(To be continued)