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Jobs - Some Rules May No Longer Apply

Updated on April 25, 2016

The Cream Doesn't Always Rise To The Top

We've all heard this in one form or another, and from different sources. "If you want to get ahead on the job, come early work hard, stay late, and make yourself indispensable!"

Well, I've seen a few things, some well before this current recession, that tells me this isn't always so.

As a customer, I've gone to a few eating places where this was glaringly apparent. At one fast food place, the server didn't even know what was on the menu! He actually had to come out of the place and look up at the menu to see what it was I was ordering! Yes, he was an employee of this place!

At another restaurant, I wanted two tacos on the same plate. The server couldn't understand me, and yes, there was a language barrier. Another server came and asked me what I wanted. I told him and he understood me, and, told the other server in their own language what I wanted, and still! The first server still didn't understand what I wanted! So, the second server took over the order and I got what I wanted. Both of these people were employed, and I'm sure that they were not struck dumb just at my presence.

As an employee, I've also seen this with some employers, where people who didn't do as good a job were kept on, and sometimes even promoted, even as other, better employees were being laid off! I'm sure many of you have seen the same thing.

Well, it turns out that what I've seen actually pales in comparison to some of the stories I've read on a website called,

It is very interesting to read these stories. Not all of them illustrate this, and some people actually had good things to say, and were laid off because their employers were actually victims of the economy and had no choice.

But some told of having been incredibly loyal and hard working for 10, 20 or more years, and being laid off abruptly, and in poor taste ways, after being told their job was safe, and often being replaced by less experienced employees, or seeing incompetent employees being kept on. A lot of this was simply due to greed from the higher ups, or incompetence running through much of the company, or a combination of both.

But these stories do carry a lesson and that is this: Hard work, loyalty, honesty, good customer service, and innovative thinking are no guarantees that your job is safe or that the company will even follow the law if you are laid off, no matter what anyone tells you!

This doesn't mean you should stop working hard, or being honest or dropping any of the other above mentioned virtues. But it does mean to be judicious as to how hard you do work and what to give up for the employer's benefit.

Some things not to give up: Vacation! Vacation is very important, especially if you can only see favorite relatives and friends at this time. I hear so many stories about people who never take vacations or give them up. But this is never remembered at layoff time, or even a week after that so called important project is finished! I've never heard of any employer putting up a monument to the worker who never takes time off and is always working hard and well. And as I heard one clergyman say once, that, he had heard many, many deathbed confessions in which people regretted not doing all kinds of things, but he'd never heard anyone say that they wished they'd put in more time at the office. And that favorite cousin may only be married once!

Unpaid effort. Don't work off the clock! After all, if you decided to take some of the employer's time to do personal stuff, (And many do and shouldn't. It works both ways.) you wouldn't get paid if they found out, and you might be fired. So, by the same token, your time is yours, and they've no right to have it for free.

And Especially! If you've been laid off unjustly, or the company has simply turned on you, DON"T do any more for them after you've left! In one story, the company told the just immediately laid off employee that they wanted him to come back and finish up a project because he was the only one who knew how to finish it. His termination was already effective at this point!

Other employees were expected to come in and train their replacements after the termination date!

So, in essence, do continue to be a good employee, but know your employer as much as possible, and beware of how much you give to them. Also, watch how they treat others. And know the laws covering employment and layoffs if at all possible.

You may have gotten past several rounds of layoffs, but tomorrow, it could be your turn.

Hopefully, not.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave your comments!

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