Tips for Keeping the Job You Have

Illustration of a woman with her head on her computer keyboard, feeling unhappy at work.

nadia_bormotova / Getty Images 

One of the comments I get over and over again from unemployed job seekers is to do whatever you can to keep the job you have unless you're ready to move on and have a new job lined up.

If you are unhappy with your job, before turning in your resignation, take a look at these tips on how to keep your position. You don't need to stay forever, but, if you can, you may want to stay at least until you have another job lined up because it's harder to find a new position when you're unemployed.

Top 10 Tips for Keeping Your Job

Try to Make the Job Work. Is there anything you could be doing differently to make the job work? Could you ask for a transfer or a shift change? Is there anything that would make a difference and convince you to stay?

Work Hard. Most employers don't mind a little time spent on Facebook or texting, but do focus on your job and give your employer the time you're getting paid for. When it comes to making lay-off decisions, and the company has to choose, your employer will keep the most productive employees. Make sure you’re one of them.

If spending too much time on Facebook is your main vice, make it more difficult to visit the website by installing a Facebook blocker in your browser. Both Google Chrome and Apple offer a couple that is highly effective in keeping your Facebook time in check.

Be On Time. Employees who are late to work, take a long lunch hour, use a ton of sick time, and/or leave early every day aren't going to win any points with their boss. Be punctual and be there, instead of making excuses for why you can't be at work.

Should a personal issue be the cause of your tardiness, schedule a meeting with your boss to explain the situation. Ask if they would allow you to stay late to make up for lost time until you resolve the issue. Most employers will sympathize and be flexible if the matter is serious enough. 

Be a Team Player. Be the employee who gets along well with everyone, who doesn’t take part in workplace gossip, and who offers to help colleagues. A positive attitude and kindness go a long way in earning respect and trust from your colleagues. This approach may even lead to your heightened satisfaction and happiness at work.

Be Flexible. Flexibility can be a key component of hanging on to your job. When your company needs someone to change shifts, work weekends, put in some overtime, or take on new tasks, consider volunteering if your personal schedule permits.

Don't Complain. Nobody likes complainers, regardless of how legitimate the complaints are. If you don't like your job, know that there are plenty of other people who would jump at the chance to get it. One way to stop complaining is to practice gratitude by saying, “I get” to do something, instead of “I have” to do something. By changing one word, you will immediately start to see the glass half full!

There are some cases when it does make sense to speak up. If for example, you are being discriminated against or harassed by a co-worker, then it is important that you have a formal meeting with someone from HR and document each incident in writing.

Offer to Help. One of the best ways to get (or keep) job security is to volunteer for new initiatives, to offer to help with projects and to take on more responsibility. Doing so will also benefit you – the more you take on tasks outside of your comfort zone, the more you will learn and grow.

Keep Social Media and Work Separate. Even if you hate your job, keep it to yourself or your trustworthy family and friends. Don't post your discontent on social media, because chances are, the wrong person will see it. That, in and of itself, can cost you your job.

Be Positive. A positive attitude is very contagious and a key component to keeping your job long-term. I have a Post-it note on my desk with the quote, “Cheerfulness is a choice,” from Rosanne Cash. Maintaining a positive attitude, even through tough times, will make your life and the lives of your colleagues much easier. If you feel stuck in a negative rut, make simple changes to your daily routine to become more positive. 

Suck it Up. Maybe it's not your favorite job. Maybe you'd rather be doing something else. However, it is a paycheck and if you need the income, it can make sense to stay until you secure a new position. Also, spend some time considering whether it's more than the job that's the problem - perhaps your career is in need of a makeover.

When All Else Fails. When keeping your job simply isn't feasible, and it isn't always, take the time to prepare for a job search and plan your departure. That way, you're not scrambling to find a job because you just got terminated. But be sure you have secured a job before quitting if you can. In fact, research shows that it’s much easier to find a job when you are employed.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles