How secure is your job? Do you know? The workplace is shifting rapidly. Jobs change, people change and the economy is volatile. And it appears whatever your economic environment whether in NSW Australia, The UK or China, it is becoming more unpredictable as time goes on. Take a look around and see if people are disappearing from your ranks. Are people sort of morphing and moving around to new roles that surprise you? Are you included in all the new projects and plans? Do you feel even a bit left out? Think about what this might mean. Are you moving slowly to the outside, to the grey zone, where the less involved, more socially shunned and more vulnerable group live?
If you want to get more control over a slipping situation, here are my top tips for staying employed or moving to new more lucrative involvement and fresh air pockets.
1. Develop some new enthusiasm for your work. This needs a little self-talk. Find out exactly what you are supposed to do and expand on it. To get a grip on the lie of the land, liaise with your boss or manager so they are on side. Yes, work on expanding your workload and value. Do a better job than before. Volunteer at work. And sorry, but you are going to have to let people notice your value. Do not beaver away extra hours for no reward of any kind for anyone. If you are the only person who will ever know what you are doing, and no one really cares, then that is not enhancing your job security one iota.
2. Network more and differently and work on being authentic as you do it. Don’t get the wild and desperate look of a born again religious nut. Get to know more people on your floor and all the others. Go to staff functions. Chat to a wider group of people. This is the time to make new contacts across the organization. Do lunch. Maybe this will help you sidestep a retrenchment. It may also present new opportunities for promotion or make your role less vulnerable. You may also find good referees for when you need them.
3. Speaking of vulnerability, try not to look weak or hidden. Don't look like you are scared in car headlights at night. This means dressing more up than down. It means being there in all your work hours. It means showing a bit of grit, head up shoulders back. Be in control. But be you at work. Be there at staff events, be noticed. Don’t make all those agonising personal calls that people can hear. And I have heard more than a few. Make more work calls, be phone networked. Be involved in your business, be available.
4. Check out how your firm or organization is doing in the business stakes. We all must do this. What is the local and regional economic news? Well right now it’s a little quiet. The only people not affected by economic decline are in the graveyard, or spaced out. So do your own research, find out what is going on. Do some newspaper and web reading. What is happening to your industry in particular? There is always some writing on the wall. What is it? What do others think? Where are the safest places to be at work? Can you find your way to the growth areas to keep a job?
5. This is time to invest in a good career practitioner or careers consultant. Trust me that you will really benefit from independent input to evaluate what you are highly skilled at and to re-examine your work issues and ambitions. A qualified career specialist will be able to assist your interpretation of the job market and show you where the jobs are in your line of interest and expertise. You will also get expert assistance with your resume revival and have a line of actions to consider. Check out the Career Development Association of Australia www.cdaa.org.au for career expert links and lots of career information.
As an Australian trainer for other career counsellors on labour market information and where the jobs are, I recommend several on-line information sources such as the national report, Australian Jobs 2014 [2015 not yet released] , The federal government Labour Market Information Portal, My Future and Job Outlook [http://joboutlook.gov.au]
6. If you have a pulse, enhance your own financial survival plan right now. You must be prepared to protect yourself if you still have a job but are not sure for how long. Have a radical review of your financial situation and your budget. This is always vital but never as much as it is right now. Get a handle on all your finances. Develop or rework your budget so it is contemporary with feeling poorer. There is a great on-line budget calculator that you can print off or download called ‘fido’ with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ( www.fido.asic.gov.au ) . This site gives tips on managing your money and keeping to your budget ‘so you can find extra money to spend’ it says. It clarified my income and expenses scarily fast and when you multiply the program out out to see what you spend per month, quarter, or year, it bites as it should do. The calculator clarified my greed for spending on new books, newspapers and magazines. I now haunt the local library. Fido even showed me I was overdoing it on presents for everyone. Not this year! Make Christmas and birthdays leaner! I now have a cheap phone, am not ripped off by telecommunications companies, and avoid shopping rip offs. Enough of my budget, Fido’s Budget Planner is a must for all of us ordinary folks. Budget planning is a huge important back end of personal and job security and career thinking.