How Do I Hold Onto the Job I Have?

Job Machine March 2009

How Do I Hold Onto the Job I Have?

The Job Machine (patent pending) provides the kind of detailed and useful answers to job-related queries you won’t find anywhere else. We send your questions to a wide array of experts, feed their responses into the Job Machine, and reveal the best answers.

There will always be factors that are out of your control, like the economy. Employers try to keep employees who are key contributors. Become a key contributor. Ask yourself if you are doing all you can to help your company.

Spend more time listening than you do talking. No one ever listened themselves out of a job.

Embrace and initiate change. Employers will keep employees who can adapt to all the changes their organization is going through with professionalism, determination and optimism.

If you are a salesperson who is having a hard time finding new accounts, now is the time to step up your service to the ones you have. Find out how the economic situation is for them and become a problem-solver for your clients. They won’t forget it when things swing up again.

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. So was your company. Don’t treat your job like a right; treat it like a privilege.

Make sure you are always on time; do not extend lunches; only use sick days when you are really sick; take care of personal errands on your own time. No personal web usage. No chat. No text. No IM.

Emergencies have always been necessary to progress. It was darkness that produced the lamp. It was fog that produced the compass. It was hunger that drove us to exploration. And it took depression to teach us the real value of a job. Remind those around you that opportunity exists just as much in a troubled economy as it does in a boom time. Maybe more.

Avoid the water cooler gang. Office politics and gossip do no one, including yourself, any good.

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, “Certainly I can!” Then get busy and find out how to do it. Now is not the time to put limits around what you will or won’t, or can or can’t do. Share client leads or ideas to generate revenue even if that’s not part of your job description.

I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs. Here’s where diplomacy comes in: Be the one who tells the boss the truth tactfully. This is about collaboration and communication.

People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it. Get work done on time, and without the need for a supervisor to spend a day fixing your mistakes.

To focus on protecting your job is missing the point. People should be asking themselves how they can create true value in the organization. Look at your place in the big picture. Ask yourself: How do I contribute to the organization’s strategy? How do I contribute to the bottom line? How do I build shareholder value? Be specific, and make it clear for your boss that you see the big picture, too.

Be enthusiastic and positive. Demonstrate faith in your organization during the tough times and the chance of that being reciprocated will increase.

There are still many opportunities out there for talented people. The job market for high performers has not dried up. Be a leader in your organization regardless of your title. Help people be the best that they can be and focus on creating value.

Fed Into the Job Machine
– Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States
– Stacy R. Cowan, president, Urban Recruitment
– David Gibbons, consultant, the Refinery Leadership Partners
– Samuel Goldwyn, film producer
– Victor Hugo, writer, activist, statesman
– Steve Jobs, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple
– Alan Kearns, founder, CareerJoy
– Hugh MacLeod, cartoonist and professional blogger
– Anita McGillis, vice-president of sales, Venture Publishing
– Howard Newton, writer
– Connie Podesta, business consultant
– Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States
– Flexo Smith, editor and owner,
– Matthew Teitelbaum, CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario
– Mark Twain, sage, failed inventor, father of American letters

2 Responses to How Do I Hold Onto the Job I Have?

  1. Lidia B. Sorbo says:

    Career Practitioner

    I run workshops for internationally trained professionals on job search strategies. The statment which comes up most often is: I’m not finding work in my profession because I don’t have Canadian work experience, yet I can’t get my foot in the door because I’m overqualified for entry level jobs.

    How would you answer this question?

  2. Craille Maguire Gillies says:


    Hi Lidia,

    A good avenue is to target companies who recruit foreign trained workers. In Unlimited’s feature on Alberta’s Best Workplaces 2009, the global firm KPMG won top spot as the Best Workplace for New Canadians. (Honourable mentions were Deloitte & Touche, Upside Software and Nexen.) Other big firms also offer a lot of support for new immigrants and, depending on the field (i.e. nursing) will go out into the field to recruit them. Here’s the link:

    Also, the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credentials Referral Office has just produced a handbook to help new immigrants put their training to work. Here’s a link to the FCR press release:

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