How to Keep a Job!


Will my new employer keep me at this job? Will my bad employment history get in the way of my new job even though i have already started?

—Alicia Rowell, England



Odd that your question just arrived. As I entered our temple-mandir this morning in Seattle, I was greeted by a member and friend with a long history of not being able to hold a job. Her lastest job might have lasted two weeks: everytime it’s a different set of circumstances. I won’t list her particular personal challenges in a public document but let me say simply that at each occurrence she blames the people at the job, her supervisor, and the job itself. She has yet to reflect on her own behavior and attitudes that trigger her being let go from the job time and time again!

What I am saying is neither simple nor easy to accept or understand: our starting point and ending point in life must always be our own Self right here and now. It is of no use to blame yourself or others. Rather, it is useful to say: “What have I learned from past experiences and how can I be mindful not to repeat any habits of thought, word, or action that might continue this karmic pattern?”

Paramhansa Yogananda lived during the challenging decade of the Great Depression (1930’s) and advised people to never give up in the search for right livelihood. He thundered, “If I were out of a job I would pound the pavement until I found one!” He also commented that many people who have issues with job or business failure patterns too often given up right before the karma shifts toward success! Like pulling a nail out of a board, you never know when it’s going to just pop out! You just have to be persistent, calm and alert. It is also useful to have positive expectations; to have faith in yourself and in the goodness behind both success and failure. Life is a school. Do your best to past your exams.

Put aside your worries and fears and DO YOUR BEST with a pleasant, cheerful and willing attitude. Don’t be ruled by the past because how you act NOW can dissolve the karmic bonds of causation that produced past failures. It is important to meditate daily, pray for openness to learn the lessons that life gives to you, to bless your work and co-workers (and customers, if any), and to be grateful for what you DO have and for as long as you have gainful employment. Swami Sri Yukteswar put it this way (paraphrased): “Forget the past…..what you do now (today) will determine the present and future.”

But also, returning now to the example of my friend mentioned above, be mindful of any thoughts or habits that might undermine success in your work. Showing up late for work every day; taking long lunches; calling in sick too often or at especially crucial moments at work; talking too much to co-workers or on the phone; using social media repeatedly during work hours; careless or sloppy work habits; asking the same questions frequently about how to do your work; lack of concentration; unwillingness to go the extra step when deadlines loom; not reaching out to help co-workers; lack of friendliness to co-workers and others.

On a positive note: you should welcome any opportunity and, indeed, seek every opportunity to improve your skills and education in your field. Seek excellence in all that you do and never be satisfied with what you have accomplished but seek to do more and better always. Look for ways for your work and your business to improve and, where appropriate, share this humbly and tentatively (doing this too often can be taken as critique, so be careful; don’t be a KNOW-IT-ALL and mind everyone else’s business). Develop the habit and attitude saying to others at work: “How can I help?” Praise and express gratitude to others (sincerely, not obsequiously, however). Encourage others in their work.

By these actions and attitudes, you can transform even the dullest and most negative work environment into a heaven of joyful cooperation, making yourself effectively indispensable.

Does not our Father in heaven look after the birds and animals, who neither toil nor labor? Why should He not take care of you, made in His image. Fear not and rejoice for the opportunity to be of creative service to others.

Blessings and joy,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle, WA USA