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Work Daze – The Career That Would Not Die

You only have yourself to blame.

Considering all the blunders you’ve made, all the deadlines you’ve missed, all the poisonous gossip you’ve spread, you still have your job.
Clearly, you haven’t been trying hard enough.

It’s true! Getting fired is a lot more difficult than people think. Your bosses don’t want to go through the hiring process that would be required to replace you. As much as they’d love to see you gone, they’re afraid they’ll hire someone even worse.

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They’re also afraid that you’ll sue for wrongful termination. These days, the reasons for firing have to be precisely documented, and writing down everything that you do wrong is just too much work for the pampered peacocks that manage you. They’d rather spend the time going to off-sites in the Seychelles, or dreaming up new perks they can award themselves.

As result, you’re left to flounder miserably at your miserable job, the goal of a work-free existence denied to you forever, or at least until you pop your clogs and are buried in the company crypt under visitor parking.

Fortunately, help is available. “Five Career Killers Every Professional Should Be Aware Of” is a recent post by Anthony Bergs on dumblittleman.com. While Bergs sees these “career killers” as obstacles to avoid, we see them for what they are — five nifty ways to get yourself fired, fast.

“Hard work” is career killer No. 1. According to Bergs, hard work can be dangerous because, while “a good result is all that matters, people who work hard tend to focus more on the ‘working’ aspect of the job, rather than ‘the result’ aspect of it.”

Since neither of us ever work hard, we’ll have to take his word on this. Still, you have to wonder — what if your managers never notice that you don’t give a fig about results? Then you’ll have the worst outcome of all. You’re working hard and you’re still working.

(By the way, Bergs asserts it is not your fault that you don’t work hard. Your brain does not have the right kind of an important enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase — as your mother always told you.)

Career killer No. 2 is “resting on the laurels.” This refers to the risk faced by people who “get too attached to the pride and glory a particular task provided them and just can’t seem to move on from it.”

Since you’ve never received pride or glory from any task you’ve been given, it is going to be difficult for you to rest on the laurels, though what you currently rest on is indeed impressive, and quite comfy, too.

“Complacency” is career killer No. 3. The idea here is that all the appreciation you get from your work gives you an attitude of “smug self-satisfaction.” Like laurel-resting, exhibiting complacency will not be easy for you. Nothing you do every gets the slightest appreciation, except, maybe, from your fellow slackers who can’t believe how long someone who does so little can be employed so long.

“Promising big things” is career killer No. 4. Even well-intentioned employees who can’t deliver on their big promises will eventually find themselves delivering pizzas. This could work for you. The problem in not in not keeping your promises; the problem is coming up with promises that are sufficiently humongous to qualify.

I suggest that you publically swear an oath to do something completely gigantic — to get to work on time at least one day a week. Since that will never happen, you can be sure that you soon won’t have to get to work at all.

The fifth and final career killer is “sucking up to the boss.” While sucking up has shown itself to be a foolproof way to get ahead, Bergs believes “there is no other thing that can place a particular individual in a more negative light.”

Since you could teach “Sucking up 101” at Harvard Business School, it is difficult to imagine how you could be a bigger suck up than you are now. Still, ask yourself — when was the last time you slipped your supervisor a first-class ticket to Las Vegas with front row seats to see Carrot Top? When have you done something simple, like waxing the boss’s Tesla and then driving her to Las Vegas to see Carrot Top?

Sure, it’s a big effort and a big sacrifice, especially the seeing Carrot Top part, but if it will kill your career, it’s worth it.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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