With the economy tightening, even good workers may find themselves on the corporate chopping block. While there’s no way to guarantee your job security during lean years, it might be high time to make sure your boss knows just how valuable you are to the company. Here are few techniques to get you started.
Be Proactive – If you can think of ways to increase sales or cut costs before your boss, or even better, your CEO, you’ll not only be spared a pink slip, you may find yourself on the fast-track to the boardroom.
Be Loud – The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and sometimes, the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the ax.
Be forthcoming about what you’re up to, and boast about your accomplishments to your boss. You may be working like a dog, but never just assume other people know it.
Keep Records – Who hasn’t seen Office Space when “the Bobs” come in to interview employees and evaluate their contributions to the company? This could easily happen to you, and if it does, you’ll want to be prepared. Document how you spend your days and, most importantly, how it helps the company bring home the bacon.
Volunteer – Nobody wants to take on more work, but the more you take on, the less expendable you will be. But don’t just take on any old side project like planning the company softball game – look for projects that are important to the bottom line and see if you can’t tack them onto your job description.
Quantify Your Contribution – Ever wonder why sales people are often the first ones fired – and sometimes the first ones promoted? That’s because there’s no question about how well they are performing – their sales numbers are for all to see.
If you’re not in sales, quantifying your contribution to the company can be trickier, but it’s always helpful to have an estimate in the back of your head. Hint: Some positions like customer service and HR don’t directly contribute to revenues, so it may be wise to show how efficiently you perform your job, thus saving the company money.
Be Punctual – A lot of people will tell you that if you want to save your job, be the first person at work and the last to leave. I disagree. This ruins your life and doesn’t necessarily accomplish anything. A smart manager might even assume you’re staying late every night because you didn’t accomplish anything all day. Yes, do be on time and don’t skip out early, but focus on being as productive as possible during your scheduled hours rather than trying to get noticed working after hours.
Look Good – Ever hear the phrase “dress for the job you want, not the one you have?” You might also dress for the job you want to keep. Your coworkers may give you flack if you show up for work in a pressed shirt and slacks when they are all in jeans, but dressing well shows you care about your image, and your position. Rest assured, somebody with more influence than your coworkers will notice.
Suck Up (A Little) – Nobody likes a brownnoser, but if jobs are on the line at your company, the rules change. While I wouldn’t recommend kissing your boss’ butt to get a promotion, taking a bit of an extra interest in your manager’s life, or showing appreciation for how hard your manager works might just tip the odds in your favor when cuts are made.
Network – More than ever, networking is critical during tough economic times. Mingle with colleagues both inside your company and out, and take notes on any opportunities that might be available should you lose your current job.
Sometimes a company may even cut your position but be hiring in other fields. If you’re a good worker, and willing to try something new, they might be willing to give you a shot in another department, but it will really help if you expressed your interest in trying that position before you lose your present position.
Need networking tips? Check out my recent articles on the Dos and Don’ts of Networking.