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Ken Keller: The 10 commandments of staying employed

Brain Food For Business Owners

Posted: October 23, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:30 a.m.

A number most familiar these days and often quoted is the 9.1 percent unemployment. The website Shadow Government Statistics ( uses another formula to determine the unemployment rate and states that rate is 22.5 percent.

Whether unemployment is 9.1 percent or 22.5 percent, it begs the question: with so many out of work, and so many looking for work, why is service so bad?

Why are the people who have jobs and are getting a paycheck failing to understand what it takes to stay on the payroll? Why do so many people come to work with an attitude of “I don’t care?”

Here are 10 thoughts owners can use to educate employees about the mindset and actions to keep a job in this challenging time:
1. Thou shall be on time to work
Someone who wants to be employed demonstrates their enthusiasm, dedication and interest in what they do to earn a living by being on time to work. That means not merely arriving at the official start time but being ready to work at that time. It also means working until the end of the day, leaving when it is appropriate to do so.

2. Thou shall get along with coworkers
Every individual in the organization is unique and most, if not all, bring something to work that might be seen, smelled, or heard — to be disturbing, offensive or irritating to those they come into contact with.
Points of difference and disagreement are to be addressed in a polite, professional and diplomatic manner.

3. Know thy business

In order to help the company grow and achieve its mission and objectives, it is essential to have a good understanding of the industry, the company’s products and services as well as know who the competition is and how they operate.

4. Thou shall work when at work
There are many possible things a person could do when they are “on the clock” or on the premises of their employer. Of all those possible activities, the only things that matter to the company are the tasks assigned to achieve the results desired.

5. Thou Shall Focus On the Important
Work expands to fill the time available. In order for the company to move forward, it is necessary to focus on “the vital few” tasks that will truly produce worthwhile results and ignore the “trivial many” that will eat up time with little, if anything, to show for it.

6. Thou Shall Listen To and Support the Boss
Every individual has an immediate supervisor that is responsible for getting assignments completed. While from time to time it might appear that that the boss is not worthy or deserving of his or her position, it must be accepted that the organization has promoted the person to be in this supervisory position and that alone is an excellent reason to support the boss.

7. Serve thy client

Every person at work has a client. If one person does not take care of his or her client, someone else will, and jobs may disappear as a result.

Not all clients are outside the building; a client could be sitting at the next desk or on the other side of the world. Both need service. A person who doesn’t provide what is expected won’t be staying on the payroll for long.
8. Thou shall continue to learn
Knowledge continues to grow and so must every person employed. No one is excused from having to learn more. An employer might not require additional information, but the marketplace always will.

9. Thou shall accept change is inevitable
Nothing stays the same. Fighting change is a battle that cannot be won.

10. Thou shall contribute to profit
The primary directive of any organization is to create revenue and profits. Those on the payroll need to comprehend if they are not helping to create profitable income, they will be viewed as a cost. Costs are always scrutinized for reduction and elimination.

Ken Keller is chief executive officer of STAR Business Consulting Inc., a company that works with companies interested in growing top line revenue. He can be reached at (661) 645-7086 or at Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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