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In This Tough Job Environment, Focus On Performance, Not Entitlement

28 April 2009 One Comment

When this are going tough, whether you lost your job or can’t find a job, it’s easy to play the entitlement card.  “How can they do that to me?”, “How can they let go of me and not him?”, “If they’re going to cut my hours, then I’m going to stop caring about my performance”.  These are all natural reactions many people go through.  When it comes to keeping your job or finding a new one, this attitude won’t help, however.

A common practice with employers these days is cutting hours or days for their employees attempting to avoid layoffs.  I recently overheard someone visiting our office talking about how his employer just cut him to four day work weeks.  He then went on to say how if they are going to cut his days (and pay), he is going to stop answering his phone after 5pm.  It is his way of sticking it back to his employer.

Now, if you want to cut yourself off from work at 5pm, I’m not going to argue with you and frankly, I support that type of mentality.  But, if your goal is to keep your income and your livlihood, this guy is handling his situation the worst way possible.  When business picks up and the employer is able to move some employees back to five day work weeks, who do you think they are going to choose?  The people that despite a tough situation showed character and overachieved, that’s who.  This guy will be among the last people to get back to a full work week at his company.

His attitude was one of entitlement.  Despite being encouraged that his employer is doing everything possible to avoid laying people off by cutting down hours, he chose to resent his employer and find ways to get back at his company.

The reality is that business is tough right now, across almost every industry.  Revenues are down across the board and the result is that costs need to be cut in many cases.  This usually translates to lay offs.  I would encourage you to show how valuable you are to your company.  This is expressed in performance and attitude.  Offer to help out co-workers with tasks, even if you won’t be recognized, because you WILL be recognized by your co-workers and employers for having a great attitude and being a part of the team.

I would encourage you to perform at a higher level than ever before.  Take on additional responsibility and show that you care about helping the company through a tough time.  Sit down with your bosses and express your thoughts and ideas on how you can help.  Your boss will appreciate your proactiveness and attitude.

The bottom line is that nothing is more important financially right now than your income.  Keep your job and your income.  Do what it takes, and if you end up getting some of your hours or shifts cut, don’t take it personally.  Instead, show the people around you that you won’t let tough circumstances affect your attitude or your performance.  Not only may this help you keep your job, but when business picks up, you might find yourself on the short list for promotions or other recognition.  Good luck!

One Comment »

  • Irina I said:

    Kevin, this is great advice! I mean, if your hours are getting cut, it’s probably because the employer can’t do anything about it and is using that as a last resort. You should still work as hard to prove your work ethic.

    The only reason that you can be upset with your employer in this situation is if the management does not cut back on their own lifestyles, but cuts the employees pay/hours. Then the culture of the firm will suffer. If the employer is cutting hours/pay, then it should be across the board so that the firm feels united and that they are “all in this together.”