You’re about to graduate from college. Congratulations! You’re to be commended. So too are your parents who just spent a small fortune on your education and armed you with a degree to put on your resume. You are now about to go out and offer your brains and brawn to a bevy of companies. I wish you all the success in the world.
And now that you are about to get a job, let me offer you a little education you probably didn’t get in college. It’s how to keep a job. It doesn’t come with a diploma or cap or a gown, but it may just be the most valuable bit of wisdom you’ll take with you into your future. Young men and women, take notes. Your success—and the value of your parents’ investment—may depend on it.
Arrive 10 minutes early. If I were you, I’d get well-acquainted with going to bed early and getting up early. The Bible is filled with the people rising early to seek God—His voice in the morning is clear of the midday clutter. And while you’re at it, get to work 10 minutes early. If the starting time is 8 am, your starting time is 7:50 at your desk—not chatting. Working. It doesn’t matter if your boss arrives late or seems not to care when you arrive. Indispensable, high-rising employees arrive early.
Smile and show positive body language. Job 9 says, “I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer.” Many workers believe that if they look beaten up by their work, the boss will pity them that they are working too hard. Don’t do it. It will just look like you don’t enjoy your job. Smile a lot, and when you walk the halls or walk into a meeting, let your high energy be seen. Managers want to work with positive people.
A handshake tells a story. A firm grip of the hand and a meaningful shake sends a strong and positive message. It says that you mean business, that you’re someone that can be counted on, that you are not afraid of hard work. It’s also a chance for a personal connection, which is rare these days, so make it count.
No grumbling. Philippians 2 says, “Do everything without grumbling or complaining.” I really don’t care if your boss is the worst of all time, you will never grumble your way to success. And when all your co-workers get together to chit chat about what a dope the boss is, have nothing to do with it. Whole companies have gone down when the ranks are filled with rancor. Stand apart. Don’t give in to the negativity.
Make suggestions for profitability or service. Keep a list of things that you think would make your company better and send them to your boss once in a while (not every day). It will mean that you’re not simply there to do a job and get a paycheck but are invested in the company’s performance. Even if they are never implemented, you’ll stand out.
Anticipate your supervisor’s needs. Be a self-starter. Take the initiative. Better yet, put your servant’s heart into action, just as Jesus did and asked us to do. Do what your boss needs before you’re told to do it—even if it’s not on your job description. You want your boss to know you have his/her back.
Anticipate your customer’s needs. Even if it is small, or especially if it is small, be on the lookout for ways to make the customer thrilled they are doing business with you and your company. You may never get thanked, but the positivity you will have created will be reward enough. It will feel great—and your company will benefit.
Treat everybody with respect. From the CEO to the office cleaning lady, everyone is made in the image of God. When everybody has value to you, your value goes up. Treat everybody with the utmost dignity.
Don’t burn any bridges. It might feel good to make a scene or write the atomic resignation, but fight the impulse to be destructive when you leave your company. Show grace always. Even if you’ve been wronged—especially if you’ve been wronged. A lot of the people who stay behind at your job may be those you run into later in your career. You’ll want their endorsement that you are a stellar individual and you’ll want them to see that your God was bigger than the dysfunction or your company. Grace shown will always come back to you.
There. That should do it. The sky’s the limit. Trust the Lord. Enjoy the ride.