Staying in the Black

by | Mar. 30, 2009


At Work

Job security isn't far from most people's minds. Corporations everywhere seem to be tightening belts and that means reducing hours and employee numbers. And when things are more stable, employers reward those who are giving their best efforts. Here are some tips to help you be the best employee and keep your boss thinking good things about you when employee reviews come around.

Be 5 Minutes Early

Common sense tells us that employers don't like tardiness. It is a signal that you aren't interested in your job or it's not a top priority. Being prompt is good, but if you’re early, you can be getting things done for the company earlier and faster, you will be on top of last-minute changes, and you'll show your boss your dedication.

Whistle While You Work

Being cheerful spreads into everything you do, and it will get noticed. Not only will it help keep you from getting stressed, it will show in your work that you are a positive person and can accomplish things because of it.

Smile at New Assignments

Employers can sense apprehension like dogs can sense fear, and if you accept an assignment with any amount of grudge, the red flags will go off. If you have legitimate concerns about the project (or your ability to complete on time), share them frankly, along with your desire to help and get the job done right.

Don't Flub Deadlines

Finishing work on time or early makes everyone happier. Also, know what your limitations are. It's much better for an employer to reassign something that you just can't get to than to have to wait for it. Chances are if you’re overloaded, your work quality will go down, along with your attitude.

Solve Your Own Problems

Your employer has other things he needs to accomplish during the day. He doesn't have the time or patience to solve all of your problems for you, especially ones that you can handle yourself. To avoid taking trivial problems right to the top, find out the infrastructure of your company; ask the billing department about bills outstanding, etc. If you have simple information from another department that can help a customer, take care of the question without bothering someone else.

Value Curiosity

While trusting your own knowledge is important, there are some things that you just don't know. Don't be afraid to ask people around you how something works or what way things are supposed to be done. Little misunderstandings can be seen as shortcomings and will get you noticed for the wrong reasons.

Don't Be a Globe-trotter

You were hired to be at work. There are instances when you do need time off (hey, everyone needs a break), but be responsible in how you go about it. First, find out your company’s policy on time off. If they don’t have one, request the time two weeks before you plan to go; during the holidays, when everyone wants to leave, make your lead time a month. Also, try to finish major projects before vacation time. That way people won't be upset you're gone, and you won't be worried about work during your play time. If you're sick, call at least thirty minutes before your regular arrival time.

Use Criticism as a Tool

Instead of taking criticism personally, use it to your advantage. By taking it gracefully, you'll impress your employer. Then, by incorporating what she told you, you'll prove two things: one, that you actually listen when your employer is talking to you, and two, that you can learn and become even better at your job.

Stay Away from the Water Cooler

Congregating at the water cooler is a classic waste of work time, not to mention a place where workplace problems arise because of gossip. By not being involved in gossip, you won't burn any bridges and will be able to focus on work. Don't just avoid gossip—always have something nice to say about someone else. This comes with the added benefit of being liked by most people you work with.

At Home

Preventing loss at work is important, but it's not the only aspect to preventing loss during the current economic situation. Being smart around the house can help save some money as well. Here are a few ways to keep your household budget under control.

Put on a Coat

Wear an extra layer instead of turning up the heat when it’s cold outside (or don't turn it up as much as usual). Try cooking dinner in the oven, which will give off ambient heat and help warm the house. Also, with the changing seasons, take advantage of cooler nights by opening windows instead of using the A.C.

Hug a Tree

Many times, being friendly to the environment can also be friendly to your budget. Buying energy-saving light bulbs and higher efficiency appliances when they are needed will pay off in energy bills in the long run.

Shop Smart

By planning out weekly or monthly menus, grocery shopping is farm more effective and less goes to waste. Now is a great time to buy in bulk and stock up on food storage. And don't forget to check out the coupons available for stores in your area. Lots of places are conscious of customers' needs and are giving more opportunities for savings.

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