People are contacting me left and right these days with understandable concern about their job security. We all know corrosive worry and concern isn't good for us and can even reduce our performance level, which can ultimately lead to job loss, the very thing we are all trying to avoid. The real focus is getting one's head out of the worry pit and back in the game to put oneself in the best situation to keep their job and their careers on track.
Here are some tips:
1. Committed and unattached. When we consider a job loss, sometimes we are prone to consuming fears and anxiety. We know worrying has no worthwhile benefits and that it saps valuable energy and focus. When you are fretting and fearful, you are living in an imagined world of a bad possible future vs. the current reality. When you stay in R-E-A-L-I-T-Y about what is happening in the present moment, you'll notice the present moment is survivable, even if it is not what you want, and you can then think clearly, sleep soundly, and create powerful action.
2. Create a plan. Instead of spending your time contemplating fears of losing your job, now is the time to kick it into gear and create a plan to win at your job and in your professional life. Design well-defined initiatives for yourself with specific and measurable results and timelines including ways that impact the bottom line no matter your role in the company; and focus your attention on hitting these targets. These targets should be both within your current job as well as actions that will have you be more prepared if a layoff ends up in the cards.
3. The more intensely you play this game to win, the more satisfaction and peace of mind you'll find. And as an ancillary benefit, the more valuable you will become to your company. Excellent employees who give their all when a company is on the ropes are the ones who stand out when the business enters calmer waters.
4. Keep your sights on winning YOUR OWN GAME. When all of your attention is on pleasing your boss or keeping your job, you risk getting get tied up in futile head games, either in competition with your peers or in riding the roller coaster of your mood or of your boss's mood and trying to be what you think your boss wants, versus trying to be your very best. When you start aiming to please yourself instead of aiming to please your boss or to compete with someone else, the company inevitably sits up and takes notice. Road tested.
5. Enhance your personal development. A turbulent financial milieu is not the place to ask for a raise or promotion. This is the time to forge ahead to foster better business results and to enhance your personal development. Learn new skills and challenge yourself to grow. Manage your job with passion and innovation, and return to conversations about raises and promotions when the economic tides have shifted positively.
6. Cultivate relationships. Whether you stay in your current job or find yourself on the layoff list, this is a good idea. Your network can help you succeed with your current job and can be crucial if you need help down the road. Reach out to people, go out for a drink with an old boss, send a handwritten card to business associate, haul out for an early morning networking event - be making real contact with people in your company and in your industry. You will be happy you did whether you stay in your job or not
7. Keep your own tank filled. Giving 100% or more of yourself at work requires recharging and taking care of yourself, with greater balance in other parts of your life, including exercise, social time, downtime and rest. When you sacrifice this, it bites you in the behind. It is a bad idea to allow yourself to justify giving this up. Good self-care ensures you have the juice, creativity and energy for your job and challenges that you encounter down the road.
8. Avoid company gossip. It is inevitably a bad idea, but people sometimes throw caution to the wind and vent frustrations to co-workers. Even if you think the company doesn't know, the gossip train will eventually get you. Getting involved puts you on the least valuable player list.
9. Get some perspective. When you talk to those who are older and wiser, who have seen the movie of tightening and loosening economic conditions, they will share the meta-view that there really is a stream of ebb and flow in the business world. And we are all journeying through part of the cycle now that is less comfortable. It's up to you how you ride out the storm. So while you may have no choice about how the economic conditions or even the stability of your company impact your job, you do have authority over how you react, and relate to, and behave through this. Play to win your game, and know that this is but one scene in a long movie.
Meredith is an Executive Coach with The Institute for Coaching.
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