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Career Advice: 13 Steps To Help Secure Your Job

stepping stones

There is no such thing as guaranteed job security in today’s tumultuous world of work.

Faced with uneasy markets for their products, companies are laying off workers. There is uncertainty about the increasing role of government. Many companies, where business is still relatively good, are using the soured economy as the rationale to cull their payrolls and turn more tasks over to technologies. Other employees are outsourcing responsibilities to workers abroad or to contract employees here. Many of these lost jobs will never return.

Meanwhile, paradoxically, more workers are quitting their jobs or planning to jump ship just as soon as the market improves. At the same time, an increasing number of persons eligible for retirement are postponing the day when they hang up their spurs. In other cases, where family incomes have been hit by layoffs of breadwinners, the number of persons seeking to re-enter the workforce is on the rise.

This means massive reshuffling of talent. There is a downturn in employee morale. “Employees feel disengaged with their jobs, which is going to lead to a lot of churn as we come out of the recession,” declares Brett Good, an executive recruiter.

In this environment, there are forces beyond your control that can disrupt your career path and put your job at risk. But there are at least 13 steps you can take to help secure your employment and advance you toward your career goals.

  1. Come to work early and stay late. This schedule demonstrates, like nothing else, that you are making the extra effort. The extra time enables you to plan your day and review your performance at the end of the day. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to get to know the boss and his challenges.
  2. Take on extra assignments with a can-do attitude. Volunteer to help others with their work.
  3. Recognize that resources, once readily available, are probably now harder to come by. Find ways to do more with less. Be a solution, not a problem.
  4. Leave your personal problems behind when you come to work. Nobody really wants to hear about your troubles. Dwelling on them diverts your attention and saps the energy you could apply to reaching your career goals.
  5. Meet deadlines. Stay on budget. Promise what you will deliver, and deliver what you promise. If you can’t deliver, say so up front and explain why. Be prepared to offer alternatives.
  6. Don’t complain about your workload, especially to your boss. Accentuate the positive.
  7. Don’t criticize your boss, your employer or your associates. Recognize and respect that they are under great pressure on the job just as you are.
  8. Understand the condition of your employer’s business. Know where you and your job fit in. Don’t pass along rumors.
  9. Maintain and expand your network of contacts on and off the job. Keep your resume up-to-date…just in case things go wrong with your job.
  10. Learn new skills that will improve your performance and prepare you for a promotion.
  11. Maintain your sense of humor; but cut out the practical jokes and horsing around that disrupt work. Work with an attitude of getting the job done.
  12. Don’t resist change. Be flexible. Manage new conditions and requirements to your advantage.
  13. Be sure your boss knows of your contribution and accomplishments. If your employer doesn’t provide regular performance reviews, ask your boss to discuss your performance and your career goals.

These 13 steps can help assure career success in good times and bad.

About the Author

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times, participate in Ramon Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His new e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned, is available from Amazon.