By Joyce Lain Kennedy

A positive attitude goes a long way in getting hired

My company recently downsized.

I am relieved to be a survivor, but also sad about the loss of coworkers and being forced to pick up the workload slack. This has been a good place to work, but frankly, fear and uncertainty have become a huge distraction. And now I hear our hours are being cut back by 10 percent!

I've always thought of myself as a team player, but in these trying times, I sure could use some tips on being a good employee.

You're not the Lone Ranger. Across the country, workers' earnings are standing still or, in some cases, declining. According to a recent poll, more than a third of Americans say they or someone in their household have had their hours or pay cut in the last few months.

The uncertainty continues with other polls reporting that two-thirds of Americans are worried about losing their jobs, and that the majority of layoff survivors say workplace productivity is down, mistakes are up, and customer service is slipping.

So you raise a good point: How do you maintain your focus and be a contributor in these trying times?

For an answer, I turn to workplace consultants Jamie and Maren Showkeir, co-authors of "Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment" (Berrett-Koehler) and partners of Henning-Showkeir & Associates (


Their advice:


Instead of blaming others for your predicament, choose to take accountability for your own role in improving things at work, the Showkeirs recommend.

You can choose to get mired in "what ifs?" or the office rumor mill, or you can take your concerns to your boss or another trusted advisor, asking for help in setting priorities.


With an increased workload, looking out for "number one" is a shortsighted strategy, caution the Showkeirs.

A better choice is collaborating with your coworkers to solve problems, find efficiencies and increase productivity.


View your current situation as an opportunity to learn more about the company's business and how what you do contributes to its success, say the Showkeirs.

Viewing your situation as a positive learning experience will help strengthen the organization -- and make you a more valuable employee.



An attorney, I have doubts about posting my resume on job boards. Seems a bit public to me. What's your opinion? -- S.S.

I share your doubts. Beyond privacy issues, you risk being perceived as "too available."

Recruiters may not tap your shoulder because they risk not being able to earn a fee for tracking you down, when anyone can find you on a digital billboard.

Some executive-candidate search services, such as, get around these pitfalls by allowing resume posters to cloak their identities until certain conditions are met.

If you want to post, choose social business media, such as, rather than job boards.

By contrast, new graduates looking high and low for a starter position may find that job board resume-posting produces employment leads.



I heard that community colleges are beginning to offer four-year degrees. That would save a lot of money in this era of unbelievable college costs.

Florida has a dozen community colleges awarding bachelor's degrees, and another two are authorized to do so.

The majors are as varied as fire safety management and veterinary technology. Nationwide, 17 states allow community colleges to award associate's and bachelor's degrees. Other states are thinking about doing the same thing.

Four-year colleges are up in arms about what they call "mission creep."

Want details?

Browse for "Community Colleges Challenge Hierarchy With 4-Year Degrees," a recent New York Times article by Tamar Lewin.