Monday, November 16, 2015

How to Never Be a Victim Again

Remember what 2008 felt like? And 2009?

Pretty grim years. Thousands of people lost their jobs, and didn't have the foggiest idea of where to turn.

Now, with unemployment at its lowest level in seven years (5.4%), those memories may be fading for many people.

Big mistake.

No one should ever forget what that felt like. The panic. The sleepless nights. The internal scolding of "Why didn't I network more?" "Why didn't I look for a new job sooner?" "Why didn't I keep my skills/certifications up-to-date?"

It's never a good idea to lull yourself into thinking that your job is safe or secure, because it's not. No one is safe from a layoff or immune from an industry suddenly hitting the skids.

So, repeat after me: "I will never let myself be complacent about my career. I won't ever be a victim again."

How do you do that?

1. Once a week reach out to someone in your network, either through LinkedIn, a phone call or email. Catch up on what the person is doing, such as the current challenges. Ask how you can help.

2. Learn something new. Take a free online course, sign up for a community college class or attend a seminar. Promise yourself you'll spend as much time learning about a new technology, for example, as you do playing fantasy football or reading about the Kardashians.

3. Play "what if." If you were to get fired today, what would you do? Do you have a resume ready? Do you have at least a handful of connections you could ask to help you? Are your skills up to date? Do you have a Plan B, such a a new career path?

4. Keep up with industry news, and understand the financial health of your own company. Be vigilant about trends in the industry that may signal a downturn, or hints within your company that it's financially struggling. Don't wait for the hammer to fall -- be proactive about searching for other opportunities before you lose your job. It's much more difficult to find a job when you're unemployed.

5. Up your game. Look around within your organization or industry and determine who is in a job you would like to have within three to five years. Look at the person's skills, education, background and connections. Are you on track to have those same qualifications so you can move into this job in a few years? If not, determine what you need to do and immediately take the steps to get there.

What other mistakes should be avoided in a career?

1 comment:

Ken Nybeck said...

Such a great post! While the sting of those years may have faded, employment cycles always ebb and flow. It’s the nature of the beast. Becoming too complacent can be incredibly dangerous in an often volatile, global employment market. These tips are all incredible. Helping people out in your networking circle may have large pay offs down the road. You should constantly be seeking out opportunities to boost up your resume and build your skills. When unemployment is high, it’s these little things that are often deciding factors. It’s easy for many to keep an eye of the big picture, not just watching the health of your company and industry, but watching for how changes in other industries can affect yours. You should always be growing!