How Not to Get Your Sorry Ass Fired: Part 4

As you have no doubt brilliantly deduced from the title, this is installment number four in Mama AnnMaria’s Guide on How Not to Get Your Sorry Ass Fired.

dead guy
Dead guy

Do the work you are assigned to do.

This may seem like anyone with a brain functioning above zombie  level could figure this out. However, I have seen many people who do not appear to be zombies who can’t quite master this concept.

Variation 1: Doing work other than what you are assigned because you are more confident doing something else.

If you are supposed to be writing a new database program but instead you update the wiki because you don’t consider yourself an expert on SQL and PHP then you are on the road to getting your sorry ass fired. Unless you lied on your resume (in which case you deserve to be fired), I’m willing to bet that your boss knows you are not an expert and either:

  • Assigned you something that requires below expert level of expertise, or
  • Believes you can learn enough to accomplish the task.

In either case, do the work you are assigned to do.

Variation 2: Doing work you were assigned to do later instead of the work you were assigned to do now.

Again, this is often because you feel more confidence in your ability to plan the office Christmas party than updating the operating system. However, it is July and your company is still using Windows XP.

Get on it.

Variation 3: Finding an excuse why you cannot do the work.

This is the quickest path for getting your sorry ass fired. Let me explain how it looks to me:

I have given you work to do because I don’t have enough time to do it all myself. Instead of doing the work, you come back to me with more work, making it my problem instead of your problem. Do you really think I hired you because I was thinking to myself,

“Gee, I don’t have enough work to do. What I really need here is someone who will bring me more work.”

Some people might ask,

“But don’t you want me to tell you if there is a problem?”

Let me explain this to you in short words.

I want you to do the work I assigned you to do. That is why I assigned it to you instead of doing it myself.

This doesn’t mean that, for example, if you don’t know the password to log in to the server you shouldn’t ask someone. It does mean that most of the time, you should solve the problem yourself if possible.

The worst example of this I ever met was a woman who never could do any work because there was always some obstacle in her way. The final straw came the day she told her boss that she had not created and printed the company newsletter because they were out of paper.

Guess whose job it was to order the paper? When he pointed this out to her, she argued that her job description said to order office supplies but no one had specifically told her that the office was out of paper.

She got her sorry ass fired.


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