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Feeling Like You Might Be Let Go?

Six ways  to keep your job

Keep Your JobOn the CBS television show Survivor contestants are placed in the in the tricky situation of working together for mutual gain while competing for the grand prize. Sound familiar?

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?

Stay Flexible

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.

Be prepared

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.

Pitch In

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.

  • Do you continually meet or exceed your boss’s expectations?
  • Are there skills you could acquire to make yourself more valuable?
  • Do you have allies at all levels within the company?
  • Are you eager to take on additional responsibilities?
  • Do you take change in stride?
  • How’s your attitude?

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.



About Annette Richmond, MA

Annette Richmond, MA, CARW, CCELW, is a Certified Resume Writer, Certified LinkedIn Profile Writer, and former recruiter. Her career advice has been featured by Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Business Insider, Monster, Vault, and WSJ. She helps motivated, senior level professionals tell their unique career story. She also serves as executive editor of career-intelligence.com.


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