Do Above Average To Be Treated Above Average

by golbguru on January 11, 2009

This whole hiring-firing thing is too complicated to capture in a small post as this,  but one of the simplest thing I have realized over the last year is this - do something above average if you want to be treated above average - make yourself indispensable - make yourself valuable - do something that makes your peers and bosses remember your face when they compile a list of people who are to be fired (that will be one step towards ensuring that you are not on that list).

As much as organizations want to reduce costs by laying off a bunch of people, they are also aware that they need to be highly efficient when things aren’t as bright as usual - this requires that they NOT layoff their efficient employees (well unless they want to shut down completely .. but that’s a different ball game in itself).

The point is that if you want to be treated as a “special” employee, you have to first ask yourself if you are doing anything “special” for your employer. It’s a very simple thing, but you will be surprised how many people don’t get it. They will come 15 minutes late everyday - spend an hour in the break room everyday - talk about kids and football for about an hour everyday - browse the internet for a couple of hours everyday - leave 15 minutes early everyday - leave an hour earlier on every Friday - and then they will act all surprised and cry foul when they get the pink slip.

Another thing to realize is that most of the bigger corporations hire with some degree of redundancy in mind (especially when the times are good and there is a lot of money flowing around). This means that some of your peers are capable of doing the exact things that you are capable of - now, when it comes to choosing who should stay and who should go, don’t expect to be safe unless you have done something more valuable that your peers.

The message is simple - do average, get average - do special, get special. Don’t just make it a habit, make it a lifestyle.

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1 Super Saver 01.11.09 at 7:57 pm


Well said.

I was always amazed at the number of people (from new hires to 30+ year veterans) who didn’t understand this relatively simple point.

Hope you’re having fun in the working world :-)

2 Golbguru 01.11.09 at 11:22 pm


Always good to see your comment. Yes, I am having fun in the working world - working my ass off; but I am having fun and that’s what matters. :)

Btw, the new hires in my firm are a little more diligent than the “experienced” folks - I guess people start taking stuff for granted after a while or something like that.

3 The Brandless Blog 01.12.09 at 9:56 am


Thanks for the tips, I think this will be really helpful for the next recession because it is takes time to build a good reputation.

For many who are already retrenched this time round, I would say they unfortunately unlucky - the wrong job, wrong place and at wrong time. Many I believed are hardworking, diligent and special in the eyes of the employer, but time is bad…. company is closing.

Rendell @ The Brandless Blog

4 Forex Advice 01.12.09 at 12:55 pm

This is so true and I think a lot people know it, but when they are in such a position, they forget about that.

5 The Digerati Life 01.12.09 at 11:06 pm

Seems like you may have described me a little there — the one about the slackers. At least, before I ended up quitting the job last year. I was actually just burning out after a while and had to take the break away from corporate life. Couldn’t be a hired gun for much longer. I may want to get back into it eventually though, we’ll see.

I work even harder now, but strangely, i don’t feel so burnt out. I guess blogging doesn’t give me the same sort of pressure.

I am glad things are going so well! We miss chatting with you! I stop over here every so often to catch your posts.

6 stocks 01.13.09 at 6:42 pm

Stand out, make a difference, show them how important you are to the job, that is the best for job security. thanks for reiterating it for me.

7 Birthday Kids Girl 01.14.09 at 5:52 am

Supervisors are always on the lookout for employees who go “beyond the call of duty”. Even in certain performance management models, the competency to diversify or take on new functions are rated higher and marked “has potential for improvement”. Every employee should prefer that rather than the expected “well-placed” rating.

Nice blog!

- Christa

8 van sales lady 01.14.09 at 5:56 am

We’re not even talking about the slackers, who are goners in this crisis. But the economic downturn doesn’t spare even the good workers. You need to really stand out. That’s the saddest part — that it’s like the process of natural selection - only the strong species, and in this case the really valuable ones), survive.

9 stocks 01.14.09 at 7:15 pm

I guess one aspect of job security that I have, is that I love my job, and that shows when i interact with my customers, and they have a good experience, and they report that to my managers and owners of the company.
“always glad to be of service” is my motto. sometimes through clinched teeth though :)

10 Elisa@Thrive 01.15.09 at 1:49 pm

When I wrote a script on in a tough economy, one of my main points is that you have to present, in some way, that you will deliver something of value to your company. The raise has to be seen as an exchange; increased pay for increased value.

In the same way, you point out that you should always be doing above average to be treated above average, which is a great motto to work and live by.

11 The Passive Dad 01.15.09 at 2:51 pm

I would agree that I’m hearing people complain less about the work environment and saying that they are happy to be employed. Some of these same people last year were complaining that they were underpaid and deserved a raise. Now that entire groups are being laid off, I think it makes you appreciate what you have more.

12 Michael Hayes 02.01.09 at 11:16 pm

Dear golbguru,

That’s true unless you prove you are special and have contributed to your employer you can avoid you name being in the list of lay offs. As you said simple things like coming 15 minutes late leaving early, spending more time in breaks will give a bad picture to the employer. If you prevent those things you can keep you job even in this recession because every company while cutting cost would be looking at retaining their best employees.

Micheal Hayes

13 minah 05.21.09 at 11:16 pm

Hello Golburg,

Nice Blog… there’s a lot of competition even with co-workers, the one who always stay on the company are those people that are valuable and trusted by their organization.

Minah of travel hqr

14 Robert 04.12.10 at 6:09 pm

That is why it is extremely important that you acquire new skills to add to your productivity and value as an asset of any organization that you work with.

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