How to Lose Your Job Without Really Trying

In this day and age of mergers, acquisitions and the inevitable layoffs, it seems that employees would be doing everything in their power to keep their job as well as striving to be a valuable asset to the company. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. At times it appears that a select few are more interested in just doing the bare minimum, or just enough to get by. It seems that a sense of loyalty has faded into the sunset, from employees and employers. In fact, at times it appears that both parties are working against each other rather than with each other.

This behavior is difficult to understand, much less believe. It seems that people are working hard at trying to lose their jobs by doing “little” things that soon grow into “big” things, such as:

  1. Being late, late, late. I am old school and I always believed that if you were on time, you’re late. I once had an employee that could never get to work on time. She was always 2-5 minutes late, every day. Her excuse –“ I have never been able to get anywhere on time, I am always late.” The problem was that the previous manager accepted this for several years and when I came on board I had to change the culture and help the staff understand this was not acceptable. It was an uphill battle and the final result was that she had to quit and find another job. I have even had numerous job applicants show up late for an interview without calling, apologizing or even providing an explanation for their tardiness. My solution – send them packing. If they are going to show up late to an interview, and you accept it, why would anything change when they’re hired? You’ve already given them approval to be late.
  2. Failing to call in if you’re going to be absent. Instead, they just text, email or leave a voice mail. If you’re going to be out, I would like to speak to you and make sure you have all of your duties covered so I don’t get any surprises later in the day. It’s not just common courtesy, it’s also me trying to help you so that you don’t have tons of work to catch up when you return to the office. Look at the big picture and remember that everything you do or don’t do has an effect on someone else.
  3. Always being negative. Life is too short to spend time only thinking about the worst that can happen or seeing all the negative things that others do. As one of my distant cousins says, we need to be happy, happy, happy.
  4. Spending excessive time on social media and gossip. This can destroy the office atmosphere faster than a nuclear bomb. It doesn’t matter whether the story is true (which in most cases it is only partially true) or not. Gossip, Facebook, Instagram, etc. has no place in the workplace. Do you really want your co-worker, boss, CEO to see the pictures you posted of you in a bikini/speedo surrounded by empty beer cans with the party hat on your head. Even if it’s a joke or meant to be funny – once it’s in the “cloud” it’s there forever. I have seen numerous reputations tarnished and respect lost because of a “funny” posting or a political rant that quickly got out of hand. If you’re going to post everything on social media without filtering it through the “should I or shouldn’t I” side of your brain, then don’t add all of your co-workers and bosses as “friends”.
  5. Being afraid of doing something because you might do it wrong. There are three different things that can be done in every situation – the right thing, the wrong thing and nothing. I would rather someone do the wrong thing than simply do nothing. I can use the wrong things as a teaching opportunity, doing nothing just makes you look incompetent.

These are just a few ways that you can lose your job without really trying. I have just barely skimmed the surface. Think about it. What are you doing, whether intentional or not, that is leading you down a path of self-destruction?

Author: Ken W

Operations management professional with 20+ years experience in building customer -focused, enthusiastic teams in nationally ranked businesses.

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