How do you keep your job? The truth is no one really knows. You can do your best and still end up on the chopping block when the organization has to downsize or change direction for whatever reason. That’s just the unfortunate corollary of business when good employees become casualties of bad decisions and myopic leadership. There are a lot of instances where job security depends on favorable market conditions and the decisions of the people sitting at the top of the organization. But you play a very important part too and “your job” is to hit your targets and be an outstanding team member. While there is no set formula for keeping your job, there are things you might be doing to lose it quicker.
If your resume looks the same as the first day you were hired then you are too comfortable in your comfort zone. You’ll miss opportunities or get usurped by someone who sees more value in your job. Most companies offer resources for continuing studies and for employees to upskill in areas relevant to their job functions. A more knowledgeable workforce translates into higher profitability. In the end, it all comes down to individual contribution and your value to the organization.
If you are a clock-watcher then keep in mind that it’s your own time that’s winding down.
If Monday gives you the heebie-jeebies then you are in the wrong job, or working for the wrong company. We all look forward to the weekend. It’s when we get to decompress, spend quality time with family, and recharge for the week ahead. Plus, there’s only so much we can stuff into those measly vacation days. But when you love what you do the workweek never truly ends. We instinctively check emails and feel compelled to respond around the clock. We constantly seek out ways to edify our skills on and off the job.
If you participate in office gossip then you are looking for trouble. Every gossip has a “byline” and you don’t want your name fueling the office rumor mill.
If you don’t attend company events then you’re missing out on great opportunities to mingle with important stakeholders. It is said that executives and rank-and-file employees speak different languages. That’s because most executives spend a lot of time basking in the “C -Sweet” life and don’t get out enough and mingle with employees. Company hosted events are great ways for employees to come together in one venue to mix, mingle and get familiar with the people running the organization.
If you are not bringing new ideas/thoughts to the table then you are not a key contributor and you are expendable. No matter what crisis befalls a company, the company will hang on to its top performers for dear life. If you are only doing what you are assigned, within the window you are expected to deliver, then you are merely doing your job for which you receive a salary in return for that service. Top performers go above and beyond. They demonstrate abilities to lead and to think strategically. Oh, and to them, the only difference between Monday and Friday is the first three letters. It’s just another day at the office.
If your boss’ boss doesn’t know your name then you are merely a cog in the wheel. True story!
If you don’t dress for the job you want then you won’t get the job you want, as simple as that. The higher up the corporate ladder you climb the more visible you become to the company’s customers, partners, and external stakeholders. To become a part of the executive management club or to live the “C-Sweet” life, you have to look, walk and talk your way in.
If you don’t practice a healthy lifestyle then you can’t function effectively. Period. Don’t take it from me, there’s enough research out there to fill your satchel.
If you don’t volunteer your time and your expertise then you are not living up to your true potential. Volunteering is not just about the intrinsic feeling you get from helping others, it is also a great opportunity to learn by applying your skills to new environments.
If you don’t have a mentor then you are working hard, not smart. Mentorship is probably the single most important relationship that encourages career growth. A good mentor serves as a treasure chest of knowledge and your number one career supporter.
If you don’t schmooze you lose. It’s just a natural part of corporate life.
If you are not competitive then you will never know what you are truly made of. Your real strength is displayed in high-pressure situations, running neck and neck until the weak buckle. Being competitive will keep you sharp and on your toes. However, the competitiveness I speak of is constructive, not destructive, and should build your team rather than breed contempt among members.
If you are not a team player then you’ll watch a lot of important games from the bench. In other words, when it’s time to select individuals for special projects, your name will be left out the hat because others don’t like working with you.
If you don’t have a career plan (no big picture) then you are like a ship sailing on high-tide with a broken compass. You’ll end up wherever the tides take you. Professionals who have a career plan are usually more successful and are generally in jobs they enjoy.
If you don’t know your industry and how your company is performing then you will miss big opportunities to contribute and to adjust your career plans in light of the company’s objectives and market conditions.
If you are a job-hopper then no company will take you seriously. You will never be included in succession planning strategies until you have shown your loyalty by sticking around for a couple of years.
If you are chasing higher salary instead of better opportunities then you are sure to find your pot of gold in hell. More money sometimes means more problems. Great opportunities don’t always pay big bucks upfront but the payoff overtime is huge.
If public speaking makes you squeamish then join a local Toastmasters and get over it. There’s no rising to the top without mastering your communication skills.
As professionals, we often take our careers for granted – thinking it will take care of itself and success will come fortuitously. If you have ever been put through the corporate wringer – you know that you rarely come out pristine and straightened on the other end. The concept of luck doesn’t exist here – unless we are talking about the kind that invites everyone to bring their favorite dishes to the table. Here, in the hallways of corporate America – it is eat or be eaten.
I’m interested to hear what you think.
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