There’s a wildly-successful TV show that will pit your intelligence against that of 5th graders. I’ll tell you, when it first came out I said it would flop — but the number of adults who fail to keep up with 5th graders is a little frightening. So is the nervous laughter from the audience…

Which leads me to ask, is your work ethic worthy of a 15-year-old? The Evil HR Lady offers young burger-flippers simple advice on How to Avoid Being Fired.

I smirked at some of her suggestions, but then I realized something. If I didn’t learn everything I needed to know in kindergarten, the rest of my work-world savvy was cultivated by a job I had in a diner when I was 15. Simple, boiled-down advice like this has little flavor but, like comfort food, it will take you a long way.

The Evil HR Lady’s suggestions for success at work aren’t just for kids, so pay attention. My favorite is this gem: “Work while you are there.”

Now, there’s something to think about while calculating your value to an employer. Woody Allen was wrong: 90% of success is not “just showing up.” It’s about doing the work. Getting the job done. Producing what you’re supposed to produce. Few 15-year-olds get that, but their bosses grind it into them. Don’t let us forget it, especially in a job interview, when the employer asks, “Why do you want this job?” The answer is not, “So I can show up… and get paid.” The answer is… well, you figure it out.

Remember that Woody Allen is a comedian. While you laugh at humanity’s foibles, he gets paid. When your name has the value that his does, you might get paid just for showing up and standing aroundDo what you say you’re going to do. Do what the employer expects. Work while you are there.

  1. How many times have you witnessed people that have stopped looking for work once hired?

    All too often, some people stop working once hired and begin schmoozing or slacking, followed closely by partying. Still others manage to squeeze in a few business projects into their [personal] day at work.

    Have you ever thought about why certain candidates make better employees than others?

    Perhaps it simply because they come to work to do work. Continuing, the smart employee not only knows how to work hard, it knows how to enjoy life. Moreover, it knows the difference between the two.

  2. I can only speak to personal experience and do not claim it applies to everyone, but being 70, most of my co-workers are considerably younger. My company has about 80 employees, with only 10 or so over 50. Of the others, only one has a decent work ethic. The rest are lazy as sin, and if anything goes wrong, their first reaction isn’t to fix it – it’s to escape blame, even if it means denying responsibility.
    In any white collar environment, 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people.

    It’s really a matter of personal integrity or the lack thereof.