Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Employee survival guide

Published:Wednesday | September 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The workplace is a battlefield between the employer and employee. Each faction fights for supremacy by waging psychological warfare or perpetrating blatant acts to tip the balance in their favour. It's a never-ending war, and the quest for supremacy doesn't always result in what's best for the company and those who work in it.

Employees have to mark their territory. Like the great wild horse of the Mongolian plains, they have to patrol their territory and be prepared to pee over the spot someone else has dared to claim. There should be one dominant scent in your enclosure. And every good employee knows it must be theirs.

Employees must commit to providing excellent service for the salary they've agreed with their employers. Anything else is unforgivable. Do not sign a contract to work for $10 and then moan that the work is actually worth double. Employees have to be performance leaders, adding value to an organisation. Their attitude must be to work so damn well that they're missed when they're out of office.

The employee must do and be these things because employers are often rank individuals. They will attempt to push or slap you around if they can, regardless of your value.

So, as an employee, you must, by way of performance and conduct, have the antidote to whatever poison they may chuck your way. Strive to establish a record of punctuality. This will ensure that on rare occasions where you are late, your employer cannot demand a reason for your tardiness. If they follow through with that question, based on your record, you can point out that given that there's no inquisition when you are early, there can be no question when you are late. Say it with a little menace in your voice so they know never to ask that question again.

never borrow from your bosses

As an employee, you must endeavour to never, ever borrow from your bosses. When you establish a borrowing relationship with your employer, it gives them a position of superiority and control. Some bosses love nothing better than a sycophantic employee who slinks into their office twice per month to borrow to pay utility bills or meet some emergency expense. This kind of relationship represents the effective selling of the soul by the employee, as the employer will now be in position to take liberties which would not be explored had they not been responsible for the JPS man not cutting off your light last month.

If you have to borrow, use a friend, not your boss. Employers love gossip, knowing full well that few things pull people closer together than gossip. No good employee should at any time have any gossip to give their boss.

As an employee, you must never put yourself in a position where the employer can look at you and ask rhetorically if you know how much the company has done for you. Good employees would be able to fire back quickly, stating that, at worst, they earn their keep.

Good employees must be able to say that, through their work, they bring revenue to the company and that the company's products or services would be poorer for the withdrawal of their contribution. Employees must be very firm on this point, because it's a card drawn easily by some members of management, especially those that can be classed as Johnny- or Jenny-come-lately.

Employees must be judicious in using the company's resources. This so it can't be said that they are abusing the privileges or tools of work. Employees must be strong. And firm.

They must know that their interest comes before that of the company. There is no company which will do anything that's in the best interest of the employee, but not in the best interest of the organisation. So should an employee think and act.

If it's not in their best interest, but will benefit the company, it cannot happen. Employees must always do an honest day's work. And, as a result, demand full respect and honesty from their bosses.


George Davis is a journalist. Email feedback to and