The worst on-the-job mistake a worker can make amid the current economic conditions is to tell the boss, "You're wrong," an international outplacement consulting firm says.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said such a statement may be tantamount to an unplanned resignation.

"One thing employees as well as job candidates should remember is that the employer is always right," Challenger President James E. Challenger said. "There are few times that the boss should be told that he or she is wrong, and particularly not during unsettled economic periods."

Challenger said the next worst on-the-job mistakes employees can make are:

Blaming others in the company for poor business conditions.

Complaining about too heavy a workload.

Requesting an advance on salary.

Returning late from vacation or a long weekend.

Workers don't mind helping companies reduce their costs but they do want something in return -- and it isn't necessarily money.

That's one of the conclusions drawn by Brooks International, a management consulting firm, after it surveyed 11,000 workers. George Bubrick, president of the consulting firm, says the workers' attitudes are that lowering costs is not a problem but make it worth their while.

The survey found that 86 percent felt responsible for helping keep costs as low as possible. And 64 percent felt they could make a contribution to cost-cutting efforts, if asked. But only 30 percent said individual contributions to cost reductions are rewarded and recognized, while 54 percent said flatly that their companies didn't reward individuals.

Bubrick said workers aren't looking for just monetary rewards for their efforts. Sometimes, he said, simply treating workers better or soliciting their advice does wonders in the area of motivating lower costs.

-- From news services