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Advice to Employees - 10 steps to becoming fire-proof

by Shari Barnes

If you’re fired from any job, getting the next one may be difficult. Employers will check your previous job history. From your first application through your interviews and evaluations, make sure you provide a true reflection of yourself and your capabilities.
  • When applying, never inflate your application. This is also known as lying. If you create expectations you cannot ultimately meet, you will be the loser.

  • Once hired, read the handbook. What does your employer expect? Understand what is expected of you as quickly as possible. Realize where you can excel and where you may need help or training.

  • Ask for a performance evaluation. Be ready to accept criticism. Knowing how you and your work efforts are perceived is the first step in learning how to better your performance and increase job security.

  • Always ask how you can improve. Eagerness to learn is what companies want. Indifference is a red flag indicating a potentially unproductive worker.

  • Don’t expect special treatment. Do not expect concessions because you are young or because this is your first job. You applied for it, you want the rewards, and you do the work.

  • Be on time. If you are supposed to begin work at 3:00 p.m., this does not mean 3:12 p.m. “Approximately” 3:00 p.m. is not good enough. Disciplined time keeping is one of the best indicators of a conscientious and responsible employee. These are key characteristics considered in the path to promotion.

  • Heed verbal and written counseling. These are steps in documenting your behavior and can lead to dismissal if ignored and not measurably responded to.

  • Heed warnings. When you are told, “you’ll be fired if you do it again!” don’t risk repeating your mistake. It is the quickest and worst way of finding out if your boss backs up words with action.

  • File grievances properly. If you believe you have been fired unjustly, the company or the EEOC will have a grievance process you can access. You also have the right to use a variety of governmental agencies to which you can address your complaint. The same holds true for sexual harassment and other commonly encountered employee issues.

  • Honesty is the best policy in all things. From your first evaluation test, and throughout your working life, truthful answers will almost invariably reward. Evasion and obfuscation will not. You can always rely on the truth but never on lies.

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    Sharon (Shari) Eurich Barnes is Director of Employee Relations for Texas Christian University. Complementing her human resource career, Ms. Barnes writes for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Working Mother, Women as Managers and Management Review. She also conducts private and court-ordered mediations.

    In addition to hosting Books in Review on cable television, Ms. Barnes speaks on employment issues for professional associations and conferences.

    Ms. Barnes received her Bachelor's degree from California Baptist University and Master's degree from Texas Christian University. Among other affiliations, she is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, American Society for Training and Development, American Association of University Women, Fort Worth Human Resource Association Board of Directors (past), College and University Personnel Association, Fort Worth Mayor's Committee for Disabled Persons, and Tarrant County Association of Mediators Board of Directors. Ms. Barnes has also been named to Who's Who Among American Women.

    Comments and questions about this article: Shari Barnes.

    The opinions expressed in articles by this author do not necessarily represent the opinions of MindData. These articles are provided as a means of informing you of current events and opinions that impact employers and the workplace.

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