Are you worried about your job security? Do you lose sleep fearing a reorganization or layoff? Today I want to help you regain control of your career, so you can put those worries to rest.
Sandy worked for a printing company for 15 years. She worked hard, she was liked, and she planned to work at this company until she could retire. But rumors began to circulate that the company was struggling to stay in business as the printing industry began to change. Then the lay-offs began. Sandy watched as her long-time friends and co-workers began to lose their jobs one by one. Next, there came the announcement that another company had acquired them; not another printing company, but a multimedia organization. Sandy knew nothing about the new organization or multimedia. The acquisition brought in new management. This left Sandy feeling stressed and anxious as she waited and worried about what would happen to her job and her career.
Can you relate to Sandy’s story? It’s a common one today. As I listen to the story of Sandy (and others like hers), the first question that I have is:
Why is Sandy waiting?
Now, it is possible Sandy has job and career options. But because she is stressed and worried about what is going to happen next, I conclude that her only option is to hope for the best. Unfortunately, hope alone does not make a great career strategy. If the only thing you rely on is hope, you are relinquishing all control of your career.
Sandy is clearly not in the driver’s seat of her career. And I want to help put YOU in the driver’s seat of your career.
One strategy for doing that is to stop thinking of yourself as an employee, and start acting as if you are your own company. What do I mean by that? I want you to take the reins of your career and assume that you are responsible for lining up your next job, for knowing and pleasing your customers, and for making sure people know what you bring to an organization.
Let me say a few words about each of these components.
1. Be responsible for lining up your next job.
Pay attention to the job market and the skills companies are looking for. Make sure you are building and maintaining those skills. Then, if an opportunity comes along or if you suddenly need to find another opportunity, you will be ready. At all times, you should know what you offer and why someone would want to hire you.
2. Know and please your customers.
When you begin to think of yourself as a company, you will see that everyone you come in contact with is either a customer or a partner. This is includes your boss and your peers. Make it a point to find out what they want and need from you, deliver that, and then follow up to make sure they got what they wanted. If you don’t know how to do this, copy what companies do. Ask questions. Do your own customer satisfaction survey. This is a great way to make sure you will have recommendations and referrals when you need them.
3. Make sure people know what you bring to the organization.
Think of this as sales and marketing. You need to make sure people know what you do and what you contribute. This includes your boss, but doesn’t stop there. What if your boss leaves the company and is the only one who values what you do? You need to identify the key players and make sure they know what you do. This might be your peers, your boss’ boss, or your boss’ peers. Make a list of people who might have a say in your career path at your current company, and then make sure they know the value of your contribution.
I want you to take the drivers’ seat in your career. By doing this, you will be able to weather any storm in the job market. I want you to love your job, thrive in your career, no matter what chaos ensues in the job market. I know you can.