How to Keep Your Job
“Have you beheld a man skillful in his work? Before kings is where he will station himself.”—Proverbs 22:29.
AS THE above Bible verse indicates, skillful workers are often highly valued. What are some skills and qualities that employers appreciate in their workers? George, the director of human resources for a company that employs 700 people, told Awake!: “What we value in an employee is his ability to communicate well and work harmoniously with others.” The Bible contains practical advice that can help you to improve in these skills, thus increasing your prospects of keeping your job. Consider some examples.
The Bible writer James shows that the work of an effective communicator begins before he opens his mouth. James wrote that one should be “swift about hearing, slow about speaking.” (James 1:19) Why is this good advice? Solomon wrote: “When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears it, that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation.” (Proverbs 18:13) Indeed, listening closely to your employer and to your fellow workers can prevent misunderstandings and keep you from making foolish mistakes.
When you speak, the way you do so is also important. If you speak clearly and with sufficient volume, it is more likely that you will be understood, and this will heighten a listener’s respect for what you say. Brian, an employment consultant mentioned in the preceding article, comments: “You would be surprised how many people lose their jobs, not because of lack of technical skill, but because they lack the ability to communicate effectively.”
Work Well With Others
In view of the amount of time you spend with workmates, you will no doubt get to know them quite well. As a result, you might be tempted to gossip about them, highlighting their mistakes and shortcomings. The Bible’s advice, however, is to “make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) By doing this, you will avoid gaining a reputation as “a busybody in other people’s matters.” (1 Peter 4:15) Moreover, you will avoid wasting time and causing needless friction with your workmates.
When you are asked to perform a task, keep in mind Jesus’ wise counsel: “If someone under authority impresses you into service for a mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41) Jesus was talking about governmental authority, but the principle certainly applies in the workplace. If you gain a reputation as a hard worker—one who will go the extra mile—you will be more likely to keep your job. Of course, there is a limit to what an employer can rightly ask of you. Jesus said that one should pay “Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (Matthew 22:21) In principle, Jesus here indicated that those in positions of authority should not be allowed to interfere with more important matters, such as worship of God.
One survey of more than 1,400 firms revealed that the majority of employers “ranked honesty and integrity as qualities that impress them most in job candidates.” Obviously, being honest involves not stealing money or materials from your employer. It also means not stealing time. A study conducted by one employment agency found that time theft amounted to an average of 4 hours and 15 minutes per employee each week. Among other things, these time thieves were habitually late, left work early, and socialized with other employees while at work.
The Bible advises: “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.” (Ephesians 4:28) In addition, God’s Word encourages Christians to work hard, even when those in authority are not directly observing them. The apostle Paul wrote: “Be obedient in everything to those who are your masters in a fleshly sense, not with acts of eye-service, as men pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah.” (Colossians 3:22) If you have a reputation for working well—even when not supervised—you are an employee to be trusted.
The Bible accurately predicted that our times would be critical and hard to deal with. (2 Timothy 3:1) The resulting political and social instability and upheaval would inevitably result in economic uncertainty. (Matthew 24:3-8) Hence, even if you apply the above suggestions, you may still lose your job.
However, applying Bible principles can help lessen the anxiety associated with unemployment. Jesus said: “If, now, God thus clothes the vegetation of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith? So never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ . . . For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things.”—Matthew 6:30-32.
Like millions of others around the world, Ericka, mentioned earlier, has experienced the truth of the above-quoted words. She sums up her feelings this way: “I enjoy my current job very much. But I know from experience that things change. Even so, by applying Bible principles and by coming to trust Jehovah, I have learned how to lessen my anxiety when unemployed and how to increase my contentment with the work I obtain.”
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Not paying attention at meetings could cost you your job