I don’t care what industry, job title, pay scale or size office you have. This year and next, you had better be thinking a big “what if…” when it comes to getting fired.
...err, sorry, “restructured,” due to a recession that is going to last at least until Q3 2010.
Despite good performance, there will be cases when people did everything possible to save their jobs but were cut anyway.
That is why everyone must have a back-up plan that they work on daily.
First, do what you can not to get fired in the first place
1. Don’t be whiner, complainer or negative energy source. Hard skill sets aside, bosses often fire the people who are most annoying in the office.
2. Be a proactive team player and never say “that isn’t my job” when you can easily step in and do something helpful to push a project or assignment through by yourself.
3. Be an expert in your job, not just a “worker.” Know what you are supposed to do and work proactively so management never needs to hold your hand. Take your knowledge of what you do to a higher level.
4. Volunteer for charity work that your company does. (Or recommend they start, it’s great PR!)
5. Network heavily in your department/company, whether you work at a small firm or large corporation. The more people who know you and your great attitude, the better your chances are at a transfer rather than a “trip to the bricks.” There may also be a chance to join former colleagues in their new companies, if you ALL get cut.
6. Speak, read, and write Japanese well. If you can’t, start studying. You live in Japan and there are lots of Japanese people here to practice with. Non-Japanese speaking foreigners require too much hand-holding. If you are one of those, you need to understand how much effort (and money) is expended on you every day.
7. Submit ideas to help your company make bigger profits by avoiding waste. This can be a simple idea for example: text-messaging your sales people when they are on the road instead of calling their mobile phones (which is very expensive); or something bigger, like in-sourcing certain projects to increase profit margins with client engagements. For those at large companies, just take care to “live lightly off the land” and do as much work as you can without constant support from other people.
8. Study up on your industry and trends to become a serious expert. Get certified in anything related to your industry. Your industry expertise will make you a source of information and that will help you save your job.
9. Think of ways to help your company get new customers or increase services/product offerings to clients. Even if you are a book-keeper, web designer, network engineer, HR specialist, receptionist, secretary or head window washer, your president should value your opinions and ideas about growing/improving the business. Just make sure you have something intelligent to say.
10. Don’t gossip, play politics or get involved in any silliness in the office; focus on your work and delivering value.
Success in business and life relies on two basic things, preparation and guts.
Make sure you are as ready as you can be, for whatever 2009 and 2010 throws at you.
Other posts by Jason de Luca: