by Billie Sucher
Are you concerned about your job? Do you wonder if you’ll be downsized? If you are, you’re not alone; the talk of the weak economy is a daily occurrence.
In today’s tumultuous workplace, no surefire strategies can guarantee that your job won’t land on the chopping block. And if you choose self-employment, each day is a roller-coaster ride, to be sure. On the other hand, whether you work for someone, or for yourself, here are some S.M.A.R.T. career strategies to make yourself more valuable, in or out of recession:
Seize the Moment
Don’t dwell on last year’s successes or failures. “Yesterday is history,” said Babatunde Olatunji. “Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” Whatever you didn’t accomplish last year, now’s your chance to do so in this one. And if you had a stellar year last year, don’t bask in your success. (You know the drill: Those who snooze, lose). What specific ways can you help your employer (or yourself) become more productive, efficient, profitable, or competitive? Write it down! Do it!
Make Yourself Do the Uncomfortable Thing Until You Do It!
Take public speaking, for example. Maybe you are uncomfortable addressing the management team, customers, suppliers, or even your colleagues. Stretch yourself. Take a class. Practice. Learn. Or how about technology? Instead of saying I don’t know much about computers, check out your local community college or enroll in an adult-education class. Have a friend tutor you; ask your 12-year-old nephew to show you some computer tips. Help is yours for the asking if you decide to take charge and do the uncomfortable until you get to a more comfortable place.
Act with a Good Attitude and Gratitude in All Things
Does your voice sound energetic, up, and on? What message does your body language send? Are you a problem-solver or a problem? Are you a complainer and a whiner? Do you act with confidence and conviction, or do you drag yourself around day after day? Are you excited about going to work? When you walk through your employer’s door, are you happy about being there? Or, do you let yourself, and everyone around you, know how miserable and unhappy you are? Just for fun, keep track of your attitude for 21 days. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (unsatisfactory) to 5 (exceeds expectations). Track your performance. What does it reveal to you? What, if anything, needs to change?
Reject the Rear-View Mirror Syndrome
Years ago, a chaplain I was taking a class with shared these words: “Don’t live your life looking in the rear view mirror.” And there’s no better time than today to start in, start up, and start over. Do the something extra for yourself, your employer, or someone else. Do more than is required. Be willing to help out without being asked. Be the first to volunteer for the new project or assignment. Step up. Don’t worry about whether it’s in your job description! (It probably isn’t.) And don’t dwell in the past. The past has passed.
Take Time to Make Someone Matter; Make a Difference
Make it a point each day to contribute to someone’s happiness, well-being or sense of self-worth. Look beyond yourself. Look around. Any ideas emerge? Maybe it’s as simple as saying good morning to someone. Or perhaps listening instead of talking. Or promptly returning your phone calls. Or responding to e-mails in a timely manner. Or being courteous and thoughtful instead of abrupt and rude in your interactions. How about a random act of kindness?
You can find so many opportunities to make others feel like they matter, be it your co-worker or customer, mentor or manager, supervisor or stranger on the other end of the line. Will you be the one who takes the time to make someone matter this day? In the words of Anita Roddick, if you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t been in bed with a mosquito!
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2010.
Billie Sucher, MS, CTMS, CTSB, JCTC, CCM, a private-practice career-management professional, has an unwavering passion for her life-work as a career transition/outplacement consultant, resume writer, speaker, poet and author. Sucher holds a master’s degree in counseling, various industry certifications including distinction as a Credentialed Career Master (CCM), International Certification as a Job and Career Transition Coach and William Bridges’ Certification in Transition Management Seminars. Sucher is a prolific contributing writer/blogger for Career Hub and also blogs at Billie Sucher Blog. She is the author of Happy About the Career Alphabet — An A-Z Primer for Job Seekers of All Ages *800+ Tweet-Style Tips* and Between Jobs: Recover, Rethink, Rebuild. Visit her Website or email her.