Family and Consumer Sciences
Going to Work Series
Keeping a Job –
Easter H. Tucker How you relate to people at • Learn to keep emotions and
Family and Consumer work is an important part of being feelings under control. No
Sciences Specialist successful on the job. Developing matter how rude someone is to
good relations with co-workers and you, stay calm and don’t lose
the supervisor should be one of your your temper. Tell them that
top goals when you begin work. This you did not know how they felt
may take some time, but in the end about the matter, and now you
it will be worthwhile. do. It is helpful to explain how
you feel about what they said
Good relationships will allow or did. Keep your voice calm
progress to be made and will make and speak clearly. Don’t curse
work more enjoyable, but they or start to cry. If they continue
must be kept in balance with the to harass you after you have
work itself. Here are some rules of spoken to them, then talk to
thumb to keep in mind. the supervisor in private
• Do not become too intimate about the problem. Let the
with co-workers or the supervisor handle it from
supervisor. Co-workers may there. It is better to try to solve
become angry and jealous problems yourself, if possible.
because they think that you • If there is a person you
want to be the supervisor’s dislike or cannot seem to
“pet.” Becoming friendly with a get along with at work,
co-worker is OK, as long as don’t tell the whole world.
others are not excluded, and Talk to the person involved and
everyone is treated with the be civil when working together.
same respect in work-related Keep your distance from this
situations. Your first considera person in social situations.
tion is to get the job done. Your Keep conflicts with co-workers
second consideration is to enjoy at a minimum or transfer to
your work. another job.
• Try not to burden your • Avoid gossiping about
employer or co-workers co-workers. For example,
with personal or family running to the boss all of the
problems. This may make time to tell him/her that a co
them feel uncomfortable and worker was on the phone or a
want to avoid your company. co-worker was reading a news
Besides, talking takes up too paper at his desk is not profes
Visit our web site at: sional or ethical. Workers who
http://www.uaex.edu much of your work time.
University of Arkansas, United States Department of Agriculture, and County Governments Cooperating
do this are rarely trusted because they are so B. Do you think Cynthia’s supervisor will
busy with other people’s business that they trust her with more responsibility? Why?
can’t tend to their own.
Check your skill at solving work problems to
build good working relationships. __________________________________________
1. Billie is a bus driver. At work one day her __________________________________________
supervisor called out, “You are much too slow C. Why does Cynthia have time to tend to
in driving your route.” Billie calmly tells him everybody else’s business?
she’s driving the speed limit and that she
doesn’t appreciate his tone of voice. Did Billie __________________________________________
handle the situation well? If so, why? __________________________________________
D. Does Cynthia overstep the authority of
__________________________________________ her supervisor? How?
2. Shawn works at Motor World. He is
responsible for parts inventory and repairs. __________________________________________
John, a co-worker, is constantly on his case.
He makes fun of the way Shawn looks, and __________________________________________
he even makes jokes about Shawn’s family. E. What will probably happen to Cynthia?
Shawn has asked John several times to stop
teasing him, but John continues. If you were __________________________________________
Shawn, what would be the right thing to do? __________________________________________
Circle the correct response.
A. Beat him up.
4. Jean has been asked out several times by her
B. Curse him.
supervisor. List three reasons why she
C. Go to the supervisor and ask him to make should/should not go.
D. Ask the supervisor to meet with you and
John to talk about the problem.
How can “D” help solve the problem? What do
you think will happen in the end? 5. Bobby’s pregnant girl friend just broke up
__________________________________________ with him and is threatening to have an
abortion. Bobby has been finding it hard to
__________________________________________ concentrate on his work. He is called into
the supervisor’s office. What do you think
Bobby should tell his supervisor?
3. Cynthia is constantly running to her __________________________________________
supervisor to tell her who was on the phone
or who went to the vending machine to visit __________________________________________
with a friend. __________________________________________
A. How do you think Cynthia’s co-workers
feel about her? Another important way to build good
relationships at work is to learn how to handle
__________________________________________ criticism. The natural reaction to criticism is to
__________________________________________ become angry, deny the problem and put the
blame on someone else. This is expected
__________________________________________ because feelings have been hurt and the ego
wounded. Self-protection will automatically mistakes in the future. At the same time, you
come into play. Learning how to override the will be viewed as an individual who is con
natural reaction takes time and practice and cerned about getting the job done the right way.
will help improve relationships at work. The relationships shared with co-workers and
supervisors will improve if you handle criticism
Here are some ways to overcome criticism. well. You will also gain additional respect from
• When you first enter your work place, take a co-workers. Tension in the work place will
deep breath, smile and try to relax. lessen, and you will feel better about the job
and about yourself.
• Keep good eye contact with others at work,
especially the boss.
• Put negative thoughts and feelings about
yourself out of your mind. Shift your Crystal, John C., and Richard N. Bolles, Where
thoughts to what you do well or like most Do I Go From Here With My Life?, Ten Speed
about yourself. Press, 1974.
McKay, Matthew, and Patrick Fanning, Self-
• Don’t take the criticism personally. It is your
Esteem, St. Martin’s Press, 1987.
work you are being asked to change and not
you as a person. Robinson, Catherine, and Jenise Rowekamp,
Speaking Up at Work, Oxford University
When the supervisor or boss criticizes, listen
carefully without interrupting. Taking notes may
be helpful, but be sure to keep good eye contact University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute of
so that you appear to be paying attention. You Agriculture and Natural Resources, Balance:
can look back to your notes whenever you need An Institute Newsletter on Work, Family, and
to do so. This helps avoid making similar Personal Growth, IANR, October, 1989.
Printed by University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Printing Services.
This material was prepared by Dorthy Taylor, Extension family life specialist, The Texas A&M University System, and Tracey R. Jones,
graduate assistant, Minority Job Skills Project, The Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University, and is
recommended to Arkansans by Easter H. Tucker, family and consumer sciences specialist, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture,
Cooperative Extension Service, Little Rock, Arkansas.
EASTER H. TUCKER is family and consumer sciences specialist with Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and
the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Extension Service, Little Rock. Director, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas. The
Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible
persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status,
FSHEC128-PD-1-06R and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.