By Christina Helwig

With mass lay-offs occurring it is more crucial than ever to make sure your skills, habits and attitudes are constantly being improved. Your salary is directly tied to your ability to do your job, the need for what you do and the difficulty people will have in replacing you. Make yourself a valuable employee and the last one that would ever be laid off.

Are You A Joy To Work With?

A very important thing to think about is whether your supervisor and colleagues like working with you. Are you pleasant and nice to the people you work with? Do you genuinely care about the success of the people around you? Are you helpful and willing to work on projects regardless of who gets the credit? Never underestimate the importance of a pleasing personality in the workplace. More than anything this simple trait will be a tie breaker when departments want to shrink their workforce. A warm smile and a positive attitude goes a long way to help your career in ways you could never imagine. If you are constantly sulking, complaining or talking behind people's backs: check your attitude at the door and start acting the way you want people to treat you.

Do You Go The Extra Mile?

I personally believe that whatever I am asked to do I will do. I also will make sure that I ask others if they need help. My standard answer to requests is "Sure, no problem." Once I am working on those requests I give it my all and I go the extra mile. I work outside the four corners of the project to research, tie things together and make sure that I turn in a great project. If you only do what is required of you, you are only meeting the base standard. Remember that a "C" student is considered average. Average is never enough to distinguish yourself. Average employees do not stand out or shine in front of their bosses.

Can Your Boss Depend On You?

Are you someone that your boss knows will get the job done. Can they rely on you? Do you put their mind at ease? Let's also take this one step further. Can your co-workers count on you? You want to make sure that the people you work with regardless of whether they are in an authority position, know that they can go to you for projects because you will do the job well and you will get it done on time. Missing deadlines affects more than just your project. Down the line that missed deadline or flawed project could cost your company a client or a sale. While the project might not seem important to you at the time. It might have grave consequences for others.

Are You Playing Your "A" Game?

Are you doing your absolute best at work? Can you step it up a notch? People rarely work at full speed all the time. Most people ease back and forth between highly productive to medium efficiency to close to stagnation. If you are oscillating frequently can you even that out? Working consistently will make your job much easier. If you are going full speed all the time you will burn out and will drop in productivity. By keeping a constant level you avoid the dips. You also produce better work because you are not as tired. Also ask yourself when working on a project: Am I doing my best? Can I improve this in anyway? By always double checking with yourself you will improve your work product and maintain a high standard.

What Have You Done To Improve Your Skill Set Lately?

If you have not done anything to improve your skill set in the last year you are behind the curve. Each year technology changes, the workforce changes and your industry changes. Without staying on top of these developments you will quickly fall behind. Your skill set will become outdated and you will not be innovative. While your ability to do you job might improve, the change will only be incremental. You can only learn so much about the things you already know how to do. What you want to learn is how to do things better, smarter, faster, with less effort, all to produce a superior product. Taking courses or going to seminars on different topics related to your industry or even returning to basics (English courses) will improve your standing in your company. Also many employers will pay for you to take courses if they think that the course will benefit your position and the company. A company that invests in its workers will always improve and will be more likely to keep people who seek this training out.

Lastly think of the type of life you really want to lead and look at how you are living now. Do you think that your current habits, actions and thoughts are congruent with what you want to create in your life? What can you do to bring those three things into alignment? - 18098

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