8/29/2014

Once You're Hired For The Job

Congratulations!!!






Assuming you read my three-part series on job interviews (Part I, Part II, Part III), let's say you have been hired.  First thing you have to do is celebrate.  Yes, just celebrate and enjoy yourself.  Getting a choice job, one that dozens applied for, is a feat worth celebrating.  I know that for a fact.  I had some sense of empathy for those who tried and didn't get it.  But, that lasted just a few seconds.  My feeling is that I deserved the job.  I've been turned down many times before for a job, as I'm sure you have also.  So, enjoy yourself and then get ready to do the really hard part;  prove that the company's faith in you is justified.  Don't get me wrong.  The job interview process is and can be murderous as I discussed in my series on the job interview.  But, just because you have been hired does not mean you have a job for life.  You have to prove you are worthy of that job.  In most states, an employer doesn't need just cause to fire you.  If he fires you due to race, gender, religion etc., that's another matter.  It is incumbent upon you to prove that was the reason you were fired.  In most companies, a new hire will go through a probationary period.  During that probationary period, you are going to be continually evaluated.  In my role as assistant superintendent of a major industrial controls company, I did all the hiring as stated in the job interview series.  A word of advice, you have got to pay attention to whoever it is that is assisting you through the training process (assuming the company even has one for you....some don't).  If you don't pay attention, you can only blame yourself if you are let go.

Most companies hire someone because they feel they are capable of doing the job.  Makes sense, doesn't it?  That means if there is a learning curve, you are expected to catch on quickly.  Very quickly in most cases. A company doesn't have time or resources to continually train someone who has the education and work background to do the job they were hired to do.  If you can't do the job adequately....well, you'll be looking for another job pretty soon.  I had to also fire some people that I hired.  That was a bad reflection on me as well.  Firing someone is the most heart wrenching thing I have ever had to do.  It just tears at you, gnaws at you for weeks, months even.  But, sometimes you have to admit your mistake and move on.  Moving on means getting rid of someone who is not adequately doing his or her job.  I didn't have to do that very often.  In fact, I only can remember firing three people who I had personally hired.  Of  course, many others were terminated for various other reasons, with incompetence being but one reason.

So, let's say you make it through the training phase.  Most likely, you have a probationary period of weeks, if not months.  In the industrial controls field, our probationary period lasted 6 months and 1-day.  Why 1-day?  Because we wanted to give the individual a complete 6 month evaluation.  We wanted to give him or her every opportunity to do the job and do it well enough to become a permanent employee with the company.  During this probationary period, you need to concentrate on doing the job as well as you possibly can.  It is critical during the probationary period to prove you can not only do the job, but do it better than anyone else that applied for the job.  That includes people who were already working for the company.  You have to assume others already employed with the company applied for your job, but were not hired for various reasons.  That causes resentment amongst the various cliques in the company that hired you.  They will be waiting for you to screw up.  Do your job so well that they have nothing to talk about.  Talk has a way of getting back to your superiors.  Justified or not, if a head honcho keeps hearing bad things about you, he will start to inquire about what you are doing wrong.  Once you lose your reputation, it is very difficult to get it back.  There are some very mean-spirited, spiteful people in this world.  Those that have been working at a particular company for a long time and are going nowhere career-wise, have nothing better to do then try to bring you down.  Don't engage with them in a tit for tat game.  Remember, fighting with pigs only makes you dirty and the pigs enjoy it.  Just do your job.  That will be the sweetest revenge you could ever think up yourself.

After your probationary period, you still are always going to be evaluated.  Maybe not in the strictest sense of the word.  Most white collar jobs, in my industrial controls company, were evaluated every six months.  If you got a bad evaluation once, you were put on notice.  If you got two bad evaluations, in one year, you usually got some time off (without pay) to think things through.  The best advice I can give you, once you have been hired, is to make yourself as valuable an employee as possible.  If they have a training seminar in Denver (or wherever it may be), for your particular career field, volunteer to go.  Anything that is made available to you by your company, you should always make it known you will go to better your chances of sticking with the company and moving up in your company.  Even if it is to give a speech, something you absolutely hate doing, volunteer to do it.  You see, people in upper management notice little things like that about you.  It makes them think you are a serious, go-getter who is ready to become a top executive with the company someday.  It doesn't matter if it is blue collar or white collar.  Avail yourself of every opportunity to make yourself more valuable to the company.  Of course, if your company has a union, seniority is what counts.  But, I do know that even companies with unions, will do their dead-level best to keep that valuable employee, seniority or not.  You may not know it now.  But, my advice of making yourself a valuable employee is the best advice you are going to get in your career, all modesty aside by me.

In summary, don't feel you can just sit back and take it easy just because you were hired due to a great interview you had.  You have to work even harder to keep that job.  There are economic downturns that you have no control over.  With a bad economy comes layoffs and loss of hours.  Make yourself the type of employee that it does not make any economic sense to give you a layoff or cut your hours.  To lay you off would hurt the company even more. Let that little idea rattle around in management's head, and you will not only have a successful career, but one without worry of losing the job you fought so hard to get.

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