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Employee Integrity

Employee Integrity

Over the years I have worked with many individuals who are unhappy in their work setting.  Despite this, however, they stay in their positions and spiral downward into a state of anger, resentment and sometimes burnout.

There are several things that I believe are important for the employee to do which will help to make the situation better:

  1. Know what is expected of you. Examine your job description without trying to change it.  You were hired to fill a specific role in the organization and are needed by the employer to do so.
  2. Ask questions. If you are not sure about the expectations, schedule a time to meet with your supervisor to discuss your concerns.  Do this with an inquiring rather than critical spirit.
  3. Identify your weaknesses. We all tend to work in our areas of giftedness and ignore the things that we don’t enjoy or do well.  If you are brave enough to face your weaknesses, you can take steps to improve in those areas.
  4. Do your job. It is important to focus on the work you are hired to do.  You are paid for a certain number of hours to do the work and owe your employer a day’s work for a day’s pay.
  5. Follow the rules. Arrive on time for work, meetings and activities.  Take breaks when they are scheduled.  Submit documentation according to deadlines.
  6. Let the “boss” be the “boss”. You are not responsible to discipline other staff, criticize the system or try to change the procedures.
  7. Find things to appreciate. Consider what life would be like if you didn’t have the salary, benefits or work environment of the present.  Often people complain about their job but realize after they have been fired or quit that they lost a great deal.
  8. Continually become more valuable in your chosen field. When you learn new skills, gain knowledge or develop expertise you not only are needed more by your employer but also have more options for future employment opportunities.
  9. Organize your work as though you were going to die tonight. What would your co-workers, clients or employer think if you weren’t there tomorrow?  Would there be “loose ends”, missing paperwork, unanswered questions?  Your reputation lasts long after you are gone.
  10. Leave the organization before everyone wishes you would. If you are unhappy, others will know that.  It is important that you find work that will satisfy you.  After all, you will be there for at least one third of your day!  You owe it to yourself and others to find a job where you can use your skills, offer service to others and feel fulfilled as an employee.

If you are struggling as an employee you may want to discuss this with someone outside of the workplace.  Ask your Human Resources officer or supervisor if your benefit plan includes an Employee Assistance Program which will pay for part or all of the fees of a Registered Psychologist.  You might even have coverage for the costs as well as time during work hours for appointments to deal with the issues.

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About the Author

Dr. Hancock has written a regular weekly column entitled “All Psyched Up” for newspapers in two Canadian provinces for more than a dozen years...