We read a lot about how to prepare for an interview, but what about those of us that are employed but still feel the pressure and insecurity of a failing economy? I saw an ad the other day that read: “Everybody is a Temp” and it made me think that it’s important that we focus on keeping those employed, employed. There’s no such thing as job security anymore, so what can you do to be an asset to your company and be, well, indispensable?
At the risk of oversimplifying, I find that you can categorize jobs into one of two types: those that are revenue building (salespeople) and those that are operational (everybody else). The distinction is important mostly to understand what it is that each individually contributes to the bottom line. In any economy, companies want salespeople to make them money. It would seem that a sales role would offer more security, however your production is very easily quantifiable by your “numbers”; if you’re not producing you’re not doing your job. That is certainly not to say that “everybody else” is not equally important. These roles also contribute to the bottom line, just more indirectly. Design creates the product that sells; production gets the product on the floor and marketing brings more eyes to the product…you get the idea. Understanding what it is that you contribute to your company’s bottom line is essential to set attainable and, again, quantifiable goals for yourself.
After we’ve set realistic goals for ourselves, let’s align these with what your manager expects of you. In a previous post we discussed How to have Difficult Conversations with your Manager; keeping an open dialogue with your manager about what is expected of you is a good example of this. It’s not easy to speak candidly about your weaknesses and to ask for critical feedback from your manager. But by being proactive and asking what your company expects of you, you will show management that you care and you will know, with confidence, if you have done your job.
However, we all know that our job doesn’t stop at what’s expected of us and security is still not guaranteed. The extra work created with unemployment exceeding 9% has likely already been absorbed by each of us, but surely there’s more that has to be done. Be proactive and throw your hand up when a project needs help. Get involved wherever you can so that you do more for your company and add value in ways beyond your job description. When you have a review and you show quantified results from previously outlined expectations, be sure to include anything that goes above and beyond your job description. Show that you are indispensable.
There is only so much that we can control in our jobs. Even if we do everything and more to prove our worth, it still may not be enough and companies will still downsize. In an effort to create a sense of job security for yourself, control the controllable – don’t only meet but exceed your goals and beyond that, be proactive and become an asset to your company.