How’s the view from under your desk these days? I know who you are!! Get out from under the desk. Yes, there is another recession and you’re nervous about keeping your job, yet hiding is not going to help you. Actually, it’s the worst thing that you can do. If your company doesn’t want you, can’t afford to have you -- they will find you no matter where you are. The better strategy is to make yourself a valued player and decrease the odds that you will finally be listening to recruiters when they call.
Five years ago in the midst of the last recession, I observed three kinds of employees:
1. Those unconscious to the job market because their company was recession- proof (oh, to be so fortunate!)
2. Those who listened and stayed alert, and kept their eyes focused forward.
3. Those who did what they were told or what they should do … and then hid.
As companies lay off more and more employees to save costs, here are a few basic suggestions about behaviors you should adopt during a down economy.
1. Go to work with your best game everyday. Don’t regress to your intern days and fetch the office coffee or act like “Erkyl” and shout “Pick me! Pick me!” Instead, use phrases like, “That sounds like a great idea. I’d love to explore it” or “I can handle that. Let me get going with it and see what happens.” With all the recent downsizing, most companies are a few hands short. Offer suggestions and pose questions to problems that could introduce new thinking Volunteer - it shows leadership potential and commitment.
2. Offer to plan a gathering for your department, but don’t turn it into a pity party. A small get together can help everyone to stay positive, and it will highlight your leadership qualities. Attend company events, even the ones you would usually blow off. Visibility is crucial right now. Let people see you and know you are still alive …as well as active, involved, and committed.
3. Don’t get sucked into the toxic water cooler yap. Keep a positive attitude by staying out of the rumor mill. While it is always best to avoid it, now is certainly the time to stay neutral. Be aware of what is going on, but don’t flame the fires of anxiety. In fact, what you should do is become an agent of positive change. Help others accept uncertainty and set an example by embracing change when is comes your way (e.g., different position or added responsibility with no salary increase – as hard as that may be to swallow). If change equates to staying in the company, then roll with it.
4. Add value by researching competitors or industry trends. Never underestimate the value of market intelligence. Know what others in your industry are doing so that your company can keep pace or plan appropriate strategies. Keep innovation alive and breathing. A little bit of intelligence goes a long way in demonstrating interest to your employer.
5. Empathize with your boss; his/ her job is tough too. Pressure from senior management and looming layoffs coupled with responsibility for staff can be overwhelming. Let your boss know you understand and treat him or her with the same concern you would like extended to you
6. Get certified. If your job is a little slow right now, use this opportunity to learn new skills so that you can be offered more responsibility and increase your value to the company. On a personal note, do some nice things for yourself at this time - pressure is on and it’s important to take care of you.
If you are feeling like it is tough to get out of bed – forget about it…ask for the extra shot of espresso and get up, get out and get noticed. Please feel free to post your comments about other ways employees can draw positive attention.