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Want to keep your job? Be happy.

Study shows that a bright disposition helps workers navigate darker times.

john kehe - staff

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Does the recession with its rampant layoffs and cutbacks make your job look better all the time? Believe it or not, donning a pair of "recession goggles" can be good for your career and your mental health. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude in trying times can not only help you keep your job, but get you the job you want.

It's a counterintuitive concept, for sure. In today's economic maelstrom, the most common responses are panic, fear, anger, distrust, and even hostility. But a Harvard Business Review article "How to Protect Your Job in a Recession" studied the characteristics of recession survivors and found that those who avoided being cut were cheerful, likable, generous contributors, and not necessarily the most skilled and proficient.

"Just don't be the guy who's always in a bad mood, reminding colleagues how vulnerable everyone is. Who wants to be in the trenches with him?" caution authors Janet Banks and Diane Coutu.

Workplace relationship expert Courtney Anderson agrees, and observes that tolerance for bad actors – particularly those higher up the food chain – is shrinking.

"The handwriting is on the wall for them in a lot of organizations," says Ms. Anderson, founder of Courtney Anderson & Associates, a human resources firm in Austin, Texas. "When times are good, companies will tolerate a lot. But in this economy, every single decision is double- and triple-checked. It will be tough for the really poor managers to make it through,"

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