How Not to Get Fired: Top 10 Tips For Keeping Your Job in a Bad Economy


It’s so much easier to keep your job than look for a new one in this economy. These tips are a good reminder for all of us to love the one we’re with.

1. Do Your Job – Only Better
A freelancer I know recently told me she’d rather just go to work for someone else so that she could show up in the morning and leave in the afternoon without worrying about every moment of billable time. That is exactly the kind of thing that’ll get you fired anytime, and especially now. Bottom line: contribute to the bottom line.

2. Suck It Up
Unless you work for AIG, you’re probably not getting a bonus this year. Or a raise. Get over it. Money isn’t everything. Giving off the impression that you’re working just for a paycheck is a direct route to Pinkslipville.

3. Be Extra Politically Correct
This is not the time for taking chances. Gossip-wise that is. Talking behind co-workers’ backs is always a bad idea. In tough times it could be lethal. Make sure your work/social interactions are above reproach. While a little office gossip is often expected, you’ll do well to learn to turn the conversation to the positive.

4. Don’t Be Politically Correct
This is precisely the time to take chances. Who is going to save our economy? Many say it’s the entrepreneurs. I say it’s the entrepreneurially minded – no matter where they work. Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts. You may have the idea that saves the company.

5. Never Miss a Deadline
This is standard, and yet there are so many excuses. Don’t use them. Work early, work late,  teach your kids to prepare your Powerpoint presentations. Do whatever it takes to get the job done. On time.  

6. Monitor Your Personal Use of Company Time
It is ridiculously easy to fritter away your precious time (paid for by your employer) on the multitude of electronic diversions we have at the ready. Worse yet: you can totally get away with it and even look like you’re working while you’re at it. One minute you’re on LinkedIn looking up an advertising contact, and the next you’re reading your college roomate’s fishing blog. Poof – there goes an hour. Coming from a billable hour background I can vouch for the fact that once that hour is gone, it’s never coming back.

7. Stay in the Loop
This is no time to isolate yourself. While you certainly don’t have to hang out with co-workers all the time, don’t be aloof either. Go to lunch with the gang. Chat in the hall. Say hi to absolutely everybody.

8. Be Humble
When jobs are in jeopardy, it’s easy to let fear get the best of you. Don’t let insecurity turn you into the jerk who has to be the loudest in the room to prove he’s valuable.

9. Toot Your Horn
Another contradiction. You don’t want to be obnoxious about it, but you don’t want to let the obnoxious guy take credit for your work either. (Ladies, I’m especially talking to you.)

10. Leave Office Romance to The Office
I’ve changed my stand on office romance to match the economic times. Normally I would say go for it, it’s normal to become involved with someone you spend so much time with. But now, you can’t risk it. Too much is at stake for you to deal with the extra complications of cube fever. If the relationship ends badly you’ll likely not want to spend all your waking hours together and there just aren’t enough other jobs out there to take the chance.

That’s all I’ve got. What are you doing to keep the boss happy?

Feel free to add on to the list in the comments!

Image Credit: wOOkie, Flickr

  • Most important in my humble opinion are:
    Make sure that risk analysis of the future cash flows is always on the top management desk top.
    Flag the events much before they happen.
    Be productive.
    Think out side the box.
    Cut waste.
    Be creative.
    Increase client base, reach out to inactive accounts.

    Bottom line is a sum total of all of the above but increasing it through zealot efforts alone would be most destructive, a wholesome plan where inclusivity is a must.
    Have a regular meeting to discuss strategy of producing better and more.

  • flo

    That sucks.
    These tips are only good if you stuck with a mortgage, one wife and three kids….
    I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let’s evolve, let the chips fall where they may

  • There certainly is a fine line between too humble and bragging too much about how great your work, especially in this economy.

    My additional suggestion would be to keep your profile low. You don’t want to draw too much unnecessary negative attention to yourself if things at the office aren’t going well.

  • totally agree with your points
    i’d actually add – look for other opportunities at the same time (a bit different from launching new biz.)

  • Laura Paris

    Some valuable points above. If you need expert advice and tips with online marketing visit our corporate blog or get in touch. :)

  • cookie

    There is nothing that makes my boss happy …work with her only for a week and these tips won’t be useful at all…I try my best everyday, and all co -workers agree w/me , nothing satifies that woman..everything you do is worthless….she makes you feel like crap avery day and not even Good Morning is a word in her dictionary…..