How to stand out at the workplace and hold on to your job in a recession
Earlier this year, the organization where I work was forced to lay off ten percent of our full time workforce. I survived this particular round of layoffs, but I knew that I would have to make a conscious effort to make sure that I stay employed. I am not necessarily scared of unemployment, I trust that God will find a way to meet our needs. In fact, there is actually a part of me that looks forward to seeing what might unfold under such a scenario, but this does not mean that I am going to volunteer for unemployment. I plan to be thankful for and content in the job I have. I hope to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.
No job is safe in an economy like this. There is no fool proof way to guarantee that you will not be down-sized, fired, or any of the other ways that a person can lose a job over the next few years. My job is particularly precarious because I work for a small non-profit company that depends on donations in order to survive. The combination of poor stock market and the tightening of IRS deductions for large gifts is having an effect on charitable organizations like mine.
Here are few strategies that I hope will help keep my name off a pink slip:
Go the extra mile
In January, I had to tell my wife that I might be putting in some extra hours over the coming year, but I saw it as a way to hedge against losing my job. Over the past couple of months, I attended voluntary meetings, accepted a voluntary position on a committee, and even volunteered for two out-of-town trips that my supervisor did not want to make. It is true that the extra time was inconvenient and often involved weekends and evenings, but I would rather work a few extra nights than have every weekday open . . .
Make sure they know your name
My company is just big enough that three months ago, my CEO did not know me from Adam or Mike or Jeff. Under normal conditions, I would not have cared. I liked my job, but I was not really interested in climbing the ladder – especially if it meant “kissing up”. But when a bunch of employees lost their jobs, I decided to take a little more initiative. My goal was simply to make sure that the president and vice presidents and chief financial officers of my company did not just see a financial liability when they looked at my name on a balance sheet. In January, I started to simply show up – attending meetings, receptions and lectures that were optional for people in my department. At the first four different events I introduced myself to the president of our company as if it was for the first time – all four times. On the fifth occasion he remembered my name. He said, “Hey, you’re ______, the guy who ______ mentioned in cabinet last week because you represented us at a couple of meetings out of town . . .”
Distinguish yourself from fellow employees
Don’t be an Eddie Haskell – an annoying, pretentious do-gooder – but rather try to execute assigned tasks so that your supervisor does not have to worry about supervising you. When your boss looks to you, he knows that assigned tasks will be finished completely with no loose ends. Your employer will notice, even if he doesn’t say anything.
Take initiative, but be a team player
There are some employees who take a Machiavellian approach to their jobs. They willingly step on others in order to get ahead. This approach only works in the short run. Don’t make the case for your job at the expense of those around you and remember that sometimes being irreplaceable means cultivating good relationships with your peers. Every team needs “glue” guy, the person that works well with everyone. Try to be the person who is liked by everyone.
Understand the Mission
Companies do not exist for the sole purpose of providing employment to the masses. If your employer can make the same amount or more money without you on the payroll, then he has no reason to keep you around. Make sure you know exactly how your job affects the profitability of your company and then make your case for employment by doing your job well. Understand the mission of your position and take some time to evaluate whether or not you are meeting that goal. If you are not, you had better start checking the classifieds.
And if the worst happens – make sure you walk out the door with a good recommendation.
From Glblguy: I mentioned last week that another writer was going to be joining me here on Gather Little by Little. Well, you just finished reading the first article published here on GLBL by that writer: Stew. You’ll be reading lots more from Stew as he’ll be posting a couple times a week going forward and you can get to know him a little more on Thursday. I’m really glad to have him, so join me in welcoming Stew to Gather Little by Little!
Photo by: mark sebastian