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12 steps to building currency in workplace

MARSHALL LOEB • Mar 30, 2007 at 8:21 AM

Twelve-step programs aren't just for battling addiction. Employment attorney Richard C. Busse, author "Fired, Laid-Off or Forced Out," says that in order to avoid the heartbreak of being sacked there are 12 steps you can follow to build up currency in the workplace.

"In most cases [these steps] get down to basic workplace etiquette," writes Busse. "However it is surprising how frequently the considerations behind the steps are disregarded."

If you already incorporate them into your work life, there's a good chance your job is secure. If not, follow these suggestions for building workplace power:

• Learn to like the people you work with. Look for things you can respect in your co-workers. You don't want to send signals that you don't like them, because they're not going to like you either. And that vibe will surely get around.

• Communicate often with your supervisor. Let your boss know you understand both your role and his - he's more likely to think of you as an employee who "gets it."

• Never turn down an invitation. If you're asked to join your boss or co-workers at a social event, don't skip it. These are good networking opportunities, and you won't send any signals that you're "too good" to socialize with the group.

• Do not be afraid to socialize with your boss. Consider buying him or her lunch, unless, says Busse, "your boss would be offended by that gesture."

• Socialize with your co-workers. Of course, you don't want to seem like a brown-noser and engender irritation, so include your colleagues in such events.

• Make your co-workers feel good about themselves. Appreciate the work your colleagues do, and praise them publicly.

• Do not forget who brought you to the dance. If you were recruited by a specific employee or hiring manager, make sure he or she always knows you are grateful.

• Never violate a confidence. People gossip in the workplace, but aim to make yourself known as the person people can trust.

• Never refuse an assignment, if you can help it. Even if it's not in your job description, it never hurts to help out when you can.

• Know your supervisor's expectations. You are responsible for your work, and it is your job to understand what your boss wants from you.

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