12 December 2008

Are you worried about job security?

We are living in troubling economic times. The world economy seems to be having a melt down. Big companies are going down the tubes, people are losing their jobs and all of us are wondering what the future holds for us and is there hope that we will keep our job? The answer to all these questions is "we just don't know", but if your company is downsizing there is something you can do to show that you are someone they should keep around?

Here is my list of what I think you can do to make yourself indispensable and create your own job security:
  • Be available. Are you willing to take on new projects and new challenges? Don't brown nose, but you do want your boss to see you as someone who is not afraid of hard work.
  • Be noticed. You want to be noticed, but not negatively. If you are a complainer, stop! Be noticed for being pleasant and a good worker.
  • Be visible. Don't try and hide and stay below the radar. If your employer doesn't know who you are and what you do, it is very likely when it comes to making cuts, your position will seem like something they can do without.
  • Be a team player. You want to be seen as someone who can work with others.
  • Be the go-to person in your office. Get knowledgeable on how to work the various office equipment. Someone has to unjam the photocopier or know who to call if it is a bigger problem. Have that information so you can be a problem solver, not just standing around wondering what to do along with everyone else. Be the person who finds solutions.
  • Be social. Networking within your own company is a great way to keep your current job or secure a future one.
  • Be thankful. If you have a job, be thankful and hang on to it and work productively and to the best of your ability.
  • Probably the most important advice is - Be nice! A personable worker who shows respect for their co-workers is a hard worker to let go.

You may do all these things and still find yourself out of work. I was laid off once from a government position when the department went through downsizing. It was a union job and I was the low person on the years-of-service ladder. Sometimes we may find ourselves out of work even though we have done everything we can to stay employed. Don't look back, just look forward to what new opportunities may come your way. I can honestly say that even though it was a hard time to go through, I ended up getting a much better job and a better opportunity and can look back on it as a good learning experience. If you do have to leave, don't forget to ask for a reference letter. My former boss gave me an excellent reference on paper and by phone. A good reference can go a long way towards getting your next job.

I read an interesting article on what management can do to prevent lay offs. One of the things they stressed was to hire well. They advised not to be so quick to hire someone just to fill the position. Having the right people in the right job is a good combination and makes for a productive team. The same can be said for employees. Be selective and go for the job that is the right fit and that you have confidence you can do. There is nothing worse than having someone in the wrong job. They may be a perfect fit for another position, but if they are sitting in the wrong job, it is a bad situation all around.

If you are an employee who knows you have to make some needed improvements, don't wait for tomorrow. Start yesterday and be the most improved worker on the team and show you have the qualities they are looking for.

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