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A huge part of LDS culture is self-reliance. Our stellar (and free!) employment service helps countless members and non-members find steady or part time work every single day. But once you land that job, the next step is keeping it. And with summer upon us, thousands of teens will be looking for summer employment, as even more adults look for permanent ways to earn a living. None of them want to lose that job as quickly as they found it.
First, let’s be realistic and face facts: Many jobs simply end. Department stores close due to online competition. Seasonal services subside. Products get replaced (how many film developers had to fold up once cell phones became ubiquitous? And when did you last buy a set of encyclopedias?). Corporations downsize and have to lay off wonderful workers simply because they have to cut back. So, yes, there are no guarantees in any job or profession. But you can increase your chances of steady work in today’s competitive workforce by implementing these five key strategies:
First, make yourself indispensable. We’ve always told our kids to be the hardest worker on the team. Whether you’re scooping ice cream, stocking shelves, or making a huge presentation to the CEO, do more than is expected. Behave as if you own the company and pick up trash, wipe a counter, straighten a shelf, sweep a floor, refill a water pitcher—do whatever keeps things running smoothly. Don’t let your job description limit you. Volunteer, and stand out from the crowd. When bosses see your incredible work ethic, they’d be crazy to let you go. Greeting the public, building morale among workers—be the most positive, amazing person they’ve ever hired and they will give you regular raises to keep from losing you.
Second, stay ahead of the curve. If your job requires additional training (or if that training would simply be helpful), get it. Especially in technology. Enroll in classes, attend seminars, find out what’s next in your field. If you got hired not knowing everything but hoping to learn on the job, roll up your sleeves and show that you’re a quick study. Have enthusiasm for challenges, rather than ducking them. Do all you can to become the consummate pro in whatever task you’re assigned.
Third, stop waiting for your job to be “fun.” Strive to be the best worker you can possibly be, and forget about the adolescent notion that everything has to be enjoyable all the time. Not everyone can pursue their passion and get paid for it, so accept the position that might not be your dream come true, but which will ultimately give you a sense of satisfaction in a job well done and the accompanying salary. Stable employment and the ability to provide can bring long term happiness if we adopt a more mature perspective.
Fourth, remember the bottom line is profit. Your boss won’t keep you on because you’re cute or funny, or because she admires your family. You need to generate income for your company. Make sure you do all you can to boost profits. And, if your position falls into question, document the good you’ve done. Two other ways to secure your job are to save the company money, or come up with a new way for them to do things, streamlining or advancing your organization in some way.
Fifth, network in and out of your organization. Keep informed about your industry’s standards and practices. Know recruiters, know people in related fields, and keep your eye on trends so you won’t be caught off-guard if layoffs occur. You’ll feel more secure if you know about other options, and you may even hear of better opportunities.
We live in a competitive world, so we may as well give ourselves every advantage we can. Hard work, education, maturity, business sense and preparation for the future are all strategies we can acquire that will help us land that job and keep it.
And then if, through no fault of your own, you find your job does end, you’re in the best possible position to hunt for another one. You’ll have good recommendations, a stronger resume, and better preparation. You’ll even have confidence, knowing you did all you could, but the situation was out of your control. You’ll be able to rely upon help from this wonderful church, and even offer help to others in your same situation.