Don’t give the boss an excuse to fire you

Francis Chin, July 4, 2003

LIFE can be very inconvenient, especially when you're jobless and cashless. You can't ride a taxi, drink $5 latte at a fancy cafe or watch $8 movies in a cinema. In fact, you can't even ride a bus, drink kopi-o in the hawker centre or watch television at home.

And in these difficult times, it is more likely that you wake up one morning and find yourself jobless and cashless than working and cash-filled.

For those lucky enough to be still holding a job, remember that, if you're not careful, you can easily be jobless and cashless too, at the drop of a hat.

Why is this so?

Because when business is lean and money is not coming in fast enough, employers get nervous and cut expenses. Since they seldom cut their own salary or give up their corporate golf club membership, they have to cut your expensive salary. Just think how much they save by paying you only the amount equal in value to the real work you have been giving to them.

In the worst case, they might as well cut your salary altogether, i.e. sack you. This is known as a “cost-cutting exercise”. And if you're the victim, it is also known as a "painful cost-cutting exercise".

Don't take it personally – between losing their club membership and losing you, the choice is obvious to the bosses.

The official reason of course is that by sacking you, they can hire someone younger, cheaper, harder-working and more obedient.

Again, don't take it personally – if you're in their shoes and it’s your money than you’re giving out, you will do the same.

Now, if you are lucky, the boss might retrench someone instead of you. How do you avoid being that someone?

Your strategy is to show that besides working hard, your work is clearly visible to your boss. Put in visible hard work, show your visible commitment to your boss, and produce lots of visible ideas, proposals and reports for him. 

Read on... Be visible, don't hide your good work

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