Recession-Proof Your Career!By Dale Kurow
Everyone’s heard about the recent layoffs and downsizing in the financial industry due to the mortgage crisis and the fire sale of Bear Stearns. Some of the retrenchment is now flowing over into other sectors, as expected.
Are you worrying about how to stay valuable to your current employer and how to avoid the unemployment line?
If your idea of safeguarding your career consists of putting your head down and working as hard as you can, you need a wake-up call.
You can increase your chances of job security by taking charge of your career. Many employers require employees to rate their own performance prior to giving their final review. Taking even small steps to become a more valuable contributor at work will add heft to your performance review and raise your esteem with your employer.
Here are changes you can make today to recession-proof your career:
¨ Attitude, first and foremost! Are you the most positive person in the room? Monitor your attitude and make sure you bring positive energy to each encounter.
¨ Become a mentor. Demonstrate your value by sharing your experience and knowledge with younger, less seasoned staff members.
¨ Volunteer for a new project (out of your area of responsibility). This will demonstrate your flexibility and cross train you in other areas of the company.
¨ Expand your knowledge base. Take a course or seminar that broadens your skills, either in your area of expertise or in a completely new discipline.
¨ Read more to stimulate your creativity. Expand your ability to be a resource of new thinking by reading trade and professional journals, magazines and books.
¨ Network, yes — network! By developing your contacts outside the company, you will establish the platform you need to do a job search. You will also add value to your current employer by having valuable resources for information and solutions.
¨ Become profit minded. What can you do today to help the company save or make money? Every expense you trim helps your employer pay your salary.
¨ Start a “hero” file. Document your job successes, small and large. When it comes time for your performance review, use these successes to bolster your case for a better rating. A hero file can serve as your hedge against layoff.
¨ Help your boss succeed. Find out your boss’s vision and goals and make them your own.
¨ No yes…buts. Stop whining and complaining about why you can’t do a task. Find a way to do it with the help of others or negotiate for more time.
¨ Develop your sense of humor. Be a person of grace, charm and wit and you’ll be the employee they want to have around.
¨ Get third party endorsements. Solicit positive feedback from others on a job well done (if deserved!) and ask the endorsers to share their comments with your boss.
Which one or two of these actions can you start to implement today?
Managing your career is your responsibility. If you do it wisely, you may be able to avoid downsizing due to recession and concurrently, make a good case for being promoted!