Increase Your Job Security

Ted and Ken both work for the sanitation department of a large city. Each morning at 4:00 A.M. they board a large garbage truck. Ted thinks his job is to empty garbage cans into the back of the truck. Ken thinks he is responsible to help keep the city looking clean and neat. Can you guess which one was promoted?

Job satisfaction and job security often go hand in hand. The more you enjoy your job, the more valuable you are to your present employer.

At any given time, many people are being fired or laid off by their employers. Many other employees worry that they will become unemployed. Whether you are planning to stay in your current job for several years or contemplating changing jobs or careers, now is an ideal time to examine both your job security and your job satisfaction.

If you want to remain with your present employer, examine the contributions you are making. How well are you performing in your present job? What can you do to make yourself more valuable to your employer? What can you do to increase the satisfaction you receive from the work you do? Identify your main responsibilities at work. Then make a list of the areas in which you excel. Ask yourself what you must do to improve the job you are now doing.

Some employees are effective; they know exactly what needs to be done. However, many effective people don’t know how to be efficient, and it takes them much longer than it should to complete a task. Some employees are efficient; they know how to work smart. But sometimes they don’t focus on their primary responsibilities and are therefore not effective. It is a rare person who is both effective and efficient. Most employees would increase their value to the firm by making improvements in one or both areas.

Maybe all you need to do to be both more efficient and more effective is to become better organized. Would you benefit by taking a course in time management?

You probably perform several tasks very well. However, do these tasks make up the most important parts of your job? You probably recognize this rule of thumb: Most people spend 20 percent of their time doing 80 percent of their job, and the remaining 80 percent of their time is devoted to completing 20 percent of their work, as well as nonwork activities such as breaks, personal calls, and visiting with other employees. With this in mind, make a list of areas in which you need to improve.

Do you need additional education and training that will help you do your present job better? Education used to end at graduation. That is not the case any more. Now employees need to continue their education indefinitely. Companies spend a great deal of money to provide quality in-house training and education.

Additional education may be especially important if you are considering changing jobs or careers in the near future. A nearby college may offer the courses you need. Make a list of courses that will be helpful to you. Often, employers will reimburse employees for tuition when they complete courses that improve their job skills.

Whether you plan to stay with your present employer or you want to change jobs, it is to your advantage to take time to improve your job security and prepare for job opportunities that may become available in the future.Jerry Mason, Lubbock, Texas

Our Book of Mormon Party

The chosen Monday night had finally arrived. Lamoni’s queen, Samuel the Lamanite, the evil Shiz, Enos, and wicked King Noah gathered in the living room so that we could begin home evening.

These special guests were attending as part of our family’s Book of Mormon party. We had planned it months before to celebrate the time when we finished reading the book.

In the weeks before our party, we assigned each family member to choose a character from the Book of Mormon and learn all he or she could about that person. We also asked that each come up with a costume and be prepared to act out a part of the character’s life so that other family members could guess whom he or she was portraying.

We were delighted with the variety of costumes and skits. Our six-year-old was Lamoni’s queen, fainting on the floor when she heard Ammon’s testimony of Christ. Our nine-year-old, dressed in Indian apparel he had made at Scout meetings, became Samuel the Lamanite. We all laughed with delight as he stood on the couch and told us to repent. We watched our eleven-year-old, representing Shiz, fight his battle to the death. Dad, as Enos, had to pray for many days and nights before we could guess his identity. And my purple bathrobe and ornate jewelry made me a perfect King Noah.

After our game of charades, we went on a treasure hunt with a “Liahona” fashioned out of cardboard. Clues led us throughout the house—but first each room had been magically transformed. The living room became the desert, the bathtub the river Sidon, and the stairway a mountain.

As we wandered, we found messages: “The people of Lehi murmur and argue all day, and the Liahona won’t work. (See Alma 37:38–42.) Wander around the room two times, then go east to the desert.” And “The people repent. (See 1 Ne. 18:21.) The Liahona works again. Go south to the river.”

The treasure hunt ended in the land of plenty—the kitchen—where we found a plate of treats and a note that read: “If we obey and do what’s right, Heavenly Father will guide us and we will be an eternal family.”

What a memorable evening! How grateful we are for the Book of Mormon and for our chance to celebrate it in family home evening.Shawna Struthers Gottfredson, Sandy, Utah

Grandchild of the Week

When I became a grandmother, I decided that I wanted to serve as an influence for good in my grandchildren’s lives. While I realized it was not my duty to “check up” on my grandchildren, I decided I wanted the opportunity to teach and help them.

For me, what has worked best is my “grandchild of the week” program. During the week, I put the chosen child’s picture in a frame on my desk. It reminds me of him or her and prompts me to update that child’s section of my picture book, a book from which I plan to give the grandchildren their pages when they are grown.

If the child lives near me, we do something together during the week; if he or she lives far away, I write a letter, call him or her on the telephone, or send a card or package. A traditional part of the week is that I interview the grandchildren who live nearby and send a questionnaire and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to those who live farther away. When the child is too small to answer the questions, the mother or father interviews the child and sends the answers to me.

By sending the questionnaires, I try to give the children a challenge to improve, and I encourage them to think about things of value. I do this by asking questions such as:

  • Are you reading the scriptures? Are you attending church?

  • What are you doing for exercise? Do you get enough sleep? Do you eat healthy foods?

  • What are you learning, planning, thinking, or reading?

  • Who are your best friends? What do you like about them? Are you helping someone with a problem? Do you have a hobby? What kind of recreation do you enjoy?

  • Do you keep your room neat? What special things can you do for your family? Can you think of a fun project for your family to do together?

  • Are you paying your tithing? Are you saving your money for something special?

In addition, I try to make my visits with my grandchildren into learning experiences. I give them things to do—asking for catsup at the fast-food restaurant or asking for information while we are shopping—to help them overcome shyness and learn to play an active part in what is going on.

I encourage them to get acquainted with their ancestors through family history activities. The children love to hear family stories, especially the exciting adventures; they think of their ancestors as heroes and heroines. Hearing those stories also reminds them of the importance of recording the special events and feelings in their lives.

I teach the little ones cooking skills and walk with them, play games with them, and do puzzles with them.

Spending time with my grandchildren is interesting and fun. It doesn’t take long, but it fosters close relationships and gives me a good feeling to be helping make a difference in their lives.Stella Hatch, Sandy, Utah

[photos] Photography by Phil Shurtleff

[illustration] Illustrated by Brent Christison