But seriously ... a straight guide to office survival
With budgets tightening, employers want to get the best value from their staff -- and so are more likely to retain those who demonstrate an interest in improving their skill-set. "One thing you can do when redundancies are coming is increase your worth to the organisation," says career coach Paul Mullan. "Enhancing your knowledge base through up-skilling is going to improve your value."
A little levity can make the working day go faster but, in the current climate, who wants to share a cubicle with a joker? If you are in a sector where redundancies are expected, then go about your job in a professional manner. Don't dress to draw attention to yourself and avoid sharing 'hilarious' videos with colleagues -- especially using company email.
Needless to say, updating your Facebook account, surfing Amazon or cracking up at some hilarious YouTube video should be saved for leisure time. Otherwise, when they come looking looking for sacrificial lambs, you can bet the office prankster will be top of the list.
Keep Your Personal Life Out Of It
Yes, we are aware you have a life outside the office. But there are limits as to how much we need to know about it. Familiar with the phrase 'too much information'? Excessive complaining/sharing about personal issues will mark you out as a person who has what Americans would call 'boundary issues'. Sooner or later, somebody from management's ears will perk up -- and, frankly, that's the last thing you need right now.
Don't Be A Busy-Body.
Every office has a gossip. But chattering endlessly in the canteen/at the water-cooler will only make you look like a time-waster. Needless to say, the spreading of rumours, malignant or otherwise, is to be avoided at any cost. And if you absolutely have to have a long and detailed mobile phone conversation with your chiropodist, save it for the walk to the car.
It's Not Just About the Cash
Okay, we all work for the same reason: a regular pay-check. Still, you don't want colleagues and superiors thinking you're a mercenary. Sometimes it helps to give the impression that you actually believe your job contributes to the greater good.
So if you have to stay back a few hours to help out or come in occasionally at weekends, don't complain -- just get on with it. These things are noticed.
"A positive attitude will stand out in the minds of decision makers," says Paul Mullan. "If they are letting staff go then at the end of the day they will want to hold onto people who will help them survive."
Human beings are pack animals and in any environment it's important to build allies. You don't have to be everyone's favourite co-worker -- but try to strike up friendships. Perception is vital in the work place -- if you're regarded as a go-it-alone oddball, nobody's going to be too disappointed, bosses included, if you're first to get a P45.
Don't Take Credit for Someone Else's Work
This should be avoided at any time. But the way the economy is right now, glory-gluttons risk being seen as especially duplicitous and damaging to morale.
When your line-manager is called aside and instructed to shave 10pc off the workforce, guess whose file will be top of the heap?
That's right -- the loudmouth who goes insisting the company couldn't get by without him. Looks like we're about to find out.