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Surviving in the Job Market: 3 Mistakes You Should Never Make

Frank Blecha
Frank Blecha
3 min read
Surviving in the Job Market: 3 Mistakes You Should Never Make

Table of Contents

I spend a lot of time with people trying to get them to look more than one step ahead of where they’re going. They’re optimizing for the short term - to get through the week and go out on Friday, to get to the next vacation, etc. Most folks are great at not tripping on something in their direct path but tend to need to improve at things that require them to walk a course for several months or even years.

For example, I went to one of the big stores to pick up the supplies my wife had ordered for the week. We use an online pickup, where you drive up and check-in, then I sit there reading my email or Twitter for a bit, and then someone pops out and starts loading up my car.

I talked to the guy who came out today, and he mentioned they were short-staffed at work and he was sorry for the delay. I told him I heard they were hiring heavily a few months ago when my son was looking for a job there. He said that was true a few months ago, but that’s not true now. Now they’re pulling in people from other stores, not hiring in his department, and his boss sucks.

I can’t help myself at this point.

Why does your boss suck?”

“They aren’t very nice, and I’ve let them know I don’t like them.” Mistake 1

“Yeah, what’d they say that’s not very nice?”

“They said that we’re all tasteless and easy to replace.” Mistake 2

“Yeah, what else?”

“They’ve cut my hours, and I had to take the early shift (predawn to mid-afternoon) to get back to 40 hours.”

“Yeah? Where did all the other hours go?”

“They seem to go to the actual adults and people with kids.”


“Yeah, so I’ve got to take the early shift to pay the bills. But I’m only doing this while my girlfriend finishes school. Then I’m going to get a job in a trade.”

“Yeah, why is that a factor at all?”

“We carpool, and the shop is about 3 miles from here. It’d be hard to carpool if we were at different jobs.” Mistake 3

He had loaded everything now and realized he had been talking to me about his job for a while. He looked a bit abashed that he’d overstayed, but I told him I was the one asking him questions. I wished him a good day, and he quickly returned to the building.

Mistake One - I’ve told my boss I don’t like them.

There’s nothing to gain from telling your boss you don’t like them. You can think it, you can believe it, it can even be correct, but there’s nothing you’ll gain by telling them you don’t like them. All you’ll earn is their disdain or ire, and you don’t need that. You need to figure out if you can tolerate them in the short term to accomplish your goal or your long-term play when they’re not your boss anymore (promotion, transfer, job change, etc.).

Mistake Two - I’m easy to replace.

If your boss tells you that you’re easy to replace, they’re likely a terrible person and an even worse manager, and they’re possibly correct, which is even worse. If you believe they are right (any new hire off the street could do your job), then you need to figure out how to stand out and find a better job. If you think they’re wrong - make an exit plan and figure out the steps you need to complete to get ahead.

Either way, this is a sign that you need to have a plan.

Mistake Three - Solving for transport not career.

His worst mistake is solving his immediate transport issues. If you had a job offer three miles away, get up the extra 10-15 minutes it’ll cost you. Suppose this guy was making $15/hr, and the trade job starts at $18/hr. At 40 hours a week, that’s an extra $120 a week, which is $480/mo or $5760/year. You can get up and make that spare time in the commute for an extra 2.5 months of pay.