Getting Fired Is Never a Good Thing – 7 Tips to Keep Your Job

Unemployment is no fun unless you are independently wealthy. Even then, it’s kind of a bummer because, if you were fired, you feel rejected. Plus, even if you did not love your job, you really wanted to leave on your terms – by turning in your notice because you had another job. And, given the competition for jobs today, along with the need to eat, it is a good idea to do what is necessary to keep your job until you have a new/better one. If you are a millennial, you may have a different concept of work – one that is not always compatible with the Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers you probably work for, but you may also have to “suck it up” and stuff those opinions away until the day that fellow millennials are in charge. In the meantime, here are 7 tips for keeping your job.

Watch Your Attitude

Even if you are a high performer, if your bring negativity into the work place, you may not be worth keeping. Here are the specific things to avoid:


  • If you are upset with your boss about something, button it. Even the person you consider a great friend at work can become a not-so-great friend if s/he sees a benefit or a promotion by revealing your “trash talk.” If you have to vent, do it on your own time and with someone not even remotely connected to your work place.
  • If you disagree with others do not criticize them personally or belittle their ideas. Instead, ask questions until s/he sees that the idea or proposal may need to be moderated or revised.
  • If you are not particularly happy about either your job or the specific tasks you have been given, do not complain and whine on your employer’s time. People in the work place expect others to act like adults – everyone has tasks they don’t like. And you can always take steps to remedy the situation – see a recruiter and begin a job search.

Negativity can become contagious, and management will do the one thing that will rid the office of it – fire you.

Know the Non-Negotiables and Adhere to Then

Every employer has certain expectations that are non-negotiable. Tooling into work consistently late may be a violation of one of these non-negotiables. Calling in sick too many Fridays or Mondays might be another. Failing to meet deadlines more than very rarely could be another. You need to find out what the non-negotiables are and not violate them.

Keep Personal Business Out of the Office

Having personal conversations and talking about our social life and/or family is fine for breaks and lunch – even at office social get togethers. But, if your personal life is taking up too much on-the-job time, over a long period of time, management will find some excuse to terminate you. Employers expect you to be focused and “on-the-job” during the time for which they are paying you.

While you do not want to “bare” your personal life, at the same time you do not want to appear aloof or disinterested in others with whom you work. Learn how to be a good listener and learn where you should draw the boundaries on personal revelations. Find the right balance so that you bond well with co-workers and your boss in a good way.

Stop Expecting Increasing External Motivators

Many millennials were raised on external motivators, and they have developed a need for them that is hard to break. They may press for more perks and benefits – more time off, being allowed to work from home part of the time, flexibility of work hours. Employers are not parents, passing out rewards to keep their children happy and productive. If employees press for too much they are seen as liabilities, and excuses will be found to fire them.

Keep a Low Profile at First

Your job when you start a new job is to get a feel for the “lay of the land.” Be an observer and a listener and do not contribute a lot at first. You want to understand the office politics, glean the various informal positions and roles that everyone plays. Who are the productive positive people? Hang with them and avoid the negative, unhappy people. Guilt by association is a real thing.

Watch Your Social Media Postings and Your Emails

Too much time spent online during office hours and using your office computer for questionable, offensive emails are two of the fastest ways to get fired. Your employer owns the computer you are using, and controls the server as well. If you think that spying does not occur if there is suspicion, you are sadly mistaken. Your employer has a legal right to all that you do on his equipment. Save all of your social media activity and personal emails for your own devices after work.

The other aspect of social media is what you post even when you are not at work. Never post anything negative about a co-worker or a boss (this should not need to be said), and never identify the company for which you work except on LinkedIn.

Upgrade Your Skills if You Need to

If you need additional skills to perform your job tasks, do not “whine” that these were not in your job description. Take some initiative and look for ways to upgrade your skills – there may be plenty of online opportunities through MOOCS and other free sources. If you are looking for sources to upgrade your skills, locate sources through You will find websites with plenty of blog posts related to online sources for skill training. Have an honest conversation with your boss about the need for skill development and have a plan for obtaining them. You will earn his respect and admiration.

Remember this: Having periods of unemployment, even short ones, can be very damaging as you launch a job search. Your job is to keep our job until you find a new one.

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