Job Security–Learning From the Bush Administration

I join the 60 percent of Americans who believe that George W. Bush is not doing a good job as President of the United States. Nonetheless, I still think there are valuable career lessons that to learn by observing one of the worst Presidents in American history.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a good case in point. By all objective measures, Gonzales should have lost his job months ago. In March, I wrote about the importance of integrity and predicted that Gonzales wouldn’t last a week.

Almost six months have past and Gonzales still has his job. Although members of both parties now believe that he has lied to Congress, Gonzales has continued to report to work every day as the Chief Law Enforcement officer of the U.S.

I still believe that integrity matters a lot (on the job and in life in general); but the case of Alberto Gonzales teaches something else. It teaches us that loyalty is the best way to maintain job security. Operate with integrity. But if you want to keep your job, demonstrate loyalty.

In short, if you can build strong relationships with your superiors, you will enjoy much greater job security. If powerful people in your organization support you because you have demonstrated a high level of loyalty in the past, then they are more likely to go to bat for you when the going gets tough.

Even from a purely political perspective, it is hard to see why Bush continues to support his Attorney General. Republicans and Democrats alike want him to go. But clearly, Gonzales’ relationship with Bush and past demonstrations of loyalty are helping Gonzales to stay in power despite huge odds. While I do not believe that this should be a substitute for acting with integrity, clearly, we can all benefit by showing some loyalty in the workplace.

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