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Except for the tropical local, constructing shelter, and scrounging for food and water it’s a lot like business. Well maybe business on steroids. But, still.
Think about your office. You and your colleagues are working together, often in teams. At the same time, you’re competing for raises and recognition. When the boss moves on only one person gets the promotion.
In today’s competitive economy, you and your colleagues may also be competing to stay in the game. When it comes to decide who stays and who goes when it comes to layoffs a lot of things come into play. Here are six ways to make sure you’re not voted off the proverbial island.
Adjust Your Attitude
Are you cheerful, friendly and optimistic? Or is your coffee mug emblazoned with Take this Job and Shove It in big red letters? Everyone has bad days once in a while. But, if you’re consistently grumpy and pessimistic you’re hurting more than yourself. Like a dark cloud, a bad attitude can put a damper on the entire office. If you really hate your job or your boss that much, fine a new one. Employers pass on candidates because of negativity during the hiring process. Do you think it’s OK just because you’ve been around for a while?
Being able to deal with change is an extremely valuable asset. At one of my last corporate gigs I survived several rounds of layoffs. I was told by the VP in charge of my department that they kept me on because I was flexible. He felt that not only would I eagerly accept additional responsibilities and be able to learn new skills, but that I was flexible enough to take the change in stride. So I stayed with the company albeit with expanded duties while several of my colleagues, some with more seniority, were let go.
Meetings can be a great way for teams to share ideas and information. But, when they’re unorganized meetings can become a big waste of time. If you’re running the meeting send out an agenda in advance so everyone can be ready to contribute. This can be particularly helpful for Introverts who prefer some time to think before jumping into the conversation. Even if you’re not in charge, spend some time organizing your thoughts before the weekly staff meeting. Bring notes or an outline to help you stay focused. Being active in meetings will help you stay top of mind in a good way.
Extra work has a way of magically appearing in every workplace. Sometimes it takes the form of reorganizing the antiquated filing system. Other times it means taking on additional tasks while a coworker is on maternity leave. Whatever your situation, you can view added responsibilities as burdens or opportunities. Banish the words “it’s not my job” from your work vocabulary. Supervisors remember people with a pitch-in attitude particularly when it comes time to choose who is going to be on the layoff list.
Maintain Your Credentials
Even in the best of times it’s essential to maintain your credentials. In many industries and professions this means attending conferences and seminars, and taking Continuing Education Units (CEU). But, don’t stop there. The most valuable employees are continually working on their professional development. Think about it. Are you logging endless hours in front of the TV or taking a course to learn new skills? Begin by considering what would help you, and maybe even your department, become more productive.
Build Your Internal Network
Many people think about networking when they’re unemployed. But it’s important to develop allies at all levels within your organization. Join the company book club or bowling league. Make connections at other levels by signing up for your company’s mentoring program as either a mentor or mentee. Don’t forget that company functions – like the holiday party and summer picnic – are great places to get to know people – like your boss’s boss – that you don’t work with on a daily basis.
Do you have what it takes to stay in the game? Here are six questions you should ask yourself.
Someone once told me that business is much like baseball. He likened the employees to members of a baseball team. Some players can play well in any position. Others can’t perform no matter where you put them.
Which group do you fall into? In today’s uncertain economy, maybe it’s time to start thinking about just how valuable you are.