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How to Lose a Job in 10 Days

Job security is that mystical notion that implies your employer will continue to employ you based on your years of service, no matter what. I have come to believe there is no such reality as job security based on longevity. Your only security is your ability to produce results and contribute to the profit of your employer. Performance is job security.

There are acts committed by employees that will lose a job. These individual acts seem minor or trivial by themselves, but if you accumulate two or three, maybe more, in a short period of time (lets say ten days) they indicate that you may be a liability to the employer. You may be on the way out and not even know it.

Here are some acts that may lose a job in ten days.

  • Unexpected time off with short notice
  • Calling in sick on Fridays and Mondays or the day before or after a paid holiday
  • Ask the HR dept. about 401k roll over, vacation payout, how much sick leave I saved
  • Confiding in a peer or boss that you are looking for a new job
  • Being tardy 5-6 days without a reason, not calling to advise others
  • Unexpected medical or dental appointments
  • Missing deadlines, blaming others for causing your delay
  • Taking long lunches, leaving earlier than your normal time
  • E-mail, games, internet surfing time, shopping on-line
  • Water cooler gossip, too much time spent at someone else's desk
  • Telling your boss rumors about other employees
  • Complaining about office policy, just too much politics
  • Finally setting your boss straight about "what's wrong around here"
  • Getting caught photo copying your resume or cover letter
  • Personal phone calls (excessive). A phone fight with spouse or friend
  • Complaining about low moral and "how it used to be"
  • Dress code violations, lacking in personal dress or hygiene
  • Wearing a business suit when dress code is business casual. Going to an interview?
  • Bill collectors call repeatedly or file a claim against your paycheck
  • Your boss gets a background reference check phone call
  • You are seen at a restaurant or hotel lobby interviewing
  • You are seen taking office supplies

"I attribute my success to this - I never gave or took any excuse." -Florence Nightingale

Dear Headhunter,
I've been unemployed since July 2002. I have never had a problem interviewing and I am now starting to feel low self-esteem lately. At my old job, during a department meeting, I left the room upset with my manager due to her work ethics and that of the company. I was too upset. I grabbed my purse and told the receptionist I had to leave. It was a Friday and I waited until Monday to call HR regarding this matter. After a week of going back and forth with phone calls and meetings, I was informed a week later that the company did not have a place for me. How do I respond to this when asked about my previous employment? What do I say?

Please help.

Dear D.C.,
It's the old two wrongs don't make a right. By your walking out of a meeting on Friday and not returning that day, you put yourself in political danger with your bosses. They would look bad if they just let you "slide" and not take any action. Phoning HR for a week without returning sealed your doom. You made it easy for them to terminate you. Call your old bosses and find out what they will say about you when a reference check is done. That answer will help you explain your previous employment and why you left. Good luck!

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
-Will Rogers

Dear Headhunter,
I saw your 10 commandments of interviewing (on www.dailynews.com employment link)

You state in commandment #2: Thou shall not dress business casual. It would seem inappropriate to go into a job interview for a truck driver position in a warehouse wearing attire fit for a night out on the town. I think every situation when looking for a job can be different depending on the place, the person interviewing, and the situation. Sometimes business casual can be appropriate.

Do you agree? Samuel

Dear Sam,
No, I still recommend a business suit. If you don't own one, then dress the very best possible. A suit and tie indicates respect for the interviewer and that you are serious about landing a job with them. You will stand out if all the others are dressed in business casual.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.