Anyone who does hiring will tell you, it’s hard to find good employees. We live in a time when folks act like they’re doing you a favor by showing up to work and it’s sad. You certainly don’t have to kill yourself working for someone else, but appreciating the gift of having a way to bring income into your household should be valued and respected.
If you have dreams of one day owning your own successful company, the best thing you can do for yourself is learn how to be a good employee. Every great Boss was once a great employee. So let’s address some basics that may seem like common sense to some, but in reality some people are never taught these things so that’s why I’m sharing it. What makes me the expert? I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I do have a decade of experience teaching employment skills, hiring, managing, supervising, and eight years of self-employment so I’d at least consider myself a reliable source.
Accepting a Job
When you accept an offer of employment, realize what is actually happening. You are agreeing to preform the duties outlined in your job description and follow the company’s policies for an exchange of a certain amount of money (hourly/ annually). There are far too many folks who come into agreement with this written contract (which is everything most people don’t really read and just sign on multiple pages within the application) and don’t uphold their end of the bargain.
It’s extremely hard to fire someone who preforms the duties they agreed to and it is almost impossible to fire someone who does their duties well. Why? Because Unemployment Insurance costs money. The more people you fire, the more people collect and the more expensive it is to carry insurance. Employers are in the business of making making money, not loosing it. Employers seek to hire individuals that they think can become an asset, not a liability. Most companies evaluate their employees on a 90-day, 6-month, then annual basis. Within these evaluations are basic questions, do you or don’t you do the job you agreed to do?
If you agreed to preform certain duties and follow certain policies, the very least you can do to keep yourself employed is keep your word. Far too many people have no problem cashing a paycheck and not upholding their end of the bargain. Far too many people get a job, then behave like it’s an entitlement. One of the hardest lessons you will ever learn in the working world is that anyone can be replaced. If you are a person who strives to give 100% in everything you put your hands to? That will always work in your favor. If you’re not a person who strives to give 100%? You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, but the least you should do is do what they’re paying you to do.
But I don’t really like my job, I only work there because I need money….
So what? Seriously, so what? Nobody told you that you had to like anything but if you have a need (income) which they (the job you don’t like) are providing to you and your household? Suck it up. Did you like going to school everyday? Do you like when the kids make a mess? Do you like paying bills? Nobody likes everything but there are things we have to do in order to provide for our household or fund our dreams. If you really are that bothered? Look for a different job. However, while you are employed at a place you don’t like? Show up with a good attitude and do what they’re paying you for. You may very well need that reference checked one day and although it is illegal for any company to give an opinion (non-factual information) about you , things like your attendance is factual. Sometimes a tone of voice or simply saying a person is not eligible for re-hire is all that a new potential employer needs to hear in order to make a decision about hiring you.
Every great Boss was once a great employee
A great Manager is one who has worked multiple positions within a company before getting promoted. A terrible Manager is normally one with no experience. Working your way up a ladder will teach you skills and lessons that you can’t obtain any other way. Some of the lessons you learn will be fair and some won’t be, but it’s important to have both so you know exactly what to do and what not to do.
For those of you who desire to be your own boss, be the kind of employee you’d want working for you. Would you continue to pay someone who had a bad attitude and was always doing the minimum necessary to get by? Take every opportunity you can to learn about the business and policy so that you know what to do when it’s time for you to run your company. Even if your job isn’t in the industry you desire to operate a company in, there are many things that are just standard for running a business of any kind.
Learn to be a person who accepts corrective feedback. There are far too many people who take it personally when someone offers them corrective feedback. If your supervisor is evaluating your job performance or offering corrective feedback about something in the work place, that is not a personal attack against you as a human being.
There is a huge difference between someone belittling you and correcting your job performance. The first time I had a supervisor pull me to the side, I felt bad. I felt like I screwed up. I however took heed to what she said and within the next three years following her pulling me aside, I was promoted twice.
Friendly & Friends
You do not get paid at any job to make friends. Most people get friendly with co-workers, invite them to weddings, they show up at funerals, and some you may even spend some recreation time with. In reality, you normally spend a lot of your time at work and you get friendly with folks. Your being friendly, should never blind you from the fact that you’re there to work or compromise your job performance. Professional Boundaries are extremely important. If you have ever supervised someone who was a friend or family member you know exactly what I’m talking about. Work is work, friendship is friendship, and not everyone has an easy time making that separation.
Simple Steps to being a good employee
- Show up on time, call if you’re running late, minimize tardiness
- Do your best to schedule your time off according to company policy
- Follow policy
- Have a good attitude
- Finish your shift responsibilities, don’t leave your work for other people to do
- Be a team player
- Put in a reasonable effort, do what they pay you to do
- Keep non-emergency personal calls/ texting to your break times. Nobody pays you to be on your phone and most companies have a cell phone policy you probably signed off on and didn’t really read
If you want to be one of those above and beyond employees? Ask if there’s anything else you can help out with once your work is done. It’s not that complicated folks, sometimes we need to change our perspective. For every shift that you get to work and generate income for your household, there is someone who wishes they had that same opportunity. If you don’t believe me, feel free to have a chat with anyone who is currently homeless or was recently released from a correctional facility and is now job searching.