Four Tips for Your Job Security

Hsuan-hua Chang

June 27, 2016

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Last week a client of mine told me that he didn't feel safe at work. Being in an executive position with his boss recently eliminated during the company's reorganization put him in a precarious place. This speaks to the current trend of business. When businesses are not seeing revenue growth as expected, they reorganize and lay off in order to cut costs. For example, last August HP converted hundreds of employee positions into contracting ones, and this spring Yahoo's downsizing decision cut 15% of its workforce. This is leading to more and more senior corporate employees being laid off in their 50s, and many are becoming independent entrepreneurs as a result.

However for those still clinging to their positions, this begs the question: What can you do when you don't feel you have job security?

  • The first question one should ask is, "How can I add value to the company's bottom line?"

    Be very clear on the company's goals and strategy, and figure out how to support your company's growth by leveraging your strengths and knowledge about your company's products, services and experience.

    Often times, when one doesn't feel safe, one will either take on more work to show one's commitment, or one will just do minimum work while feeling resigned. Neither of these tactics will take you too far.

  • The second question to consider is, "What skills do I need in order to be up-to-date in the current job market?" While this question is often asked reactively when one loses one's job, a better approach is to be proactive:

    Keep up on the market trends, know the skills in high demand, and be able to maximize your value as an employee based on this knowledge. For some people, this can be difficult when work pressure is too high and hours are too long. However, spending 15-30 minutes a day studying new skills will not only increase your employable opportunity, but also increase your contribution to your current company.

  • The third question to ask is, "Is this the company one that I really want to work for?"

    Remember that you have a choice if you have up-to-date skills and extensive experience.

    Evaluate your company's future. Company like Southwest Airline is very good at communicating its goals and vision in a way that cultivates teamwork. If your company doesn't demonstrate such qualities, you will need to observe if your company operates in alignment with its vision, if its strategies are supporting its goals, and if its leadership is strong enough to sustain. If your observation gives you doubt about the company's direction, it's time to get your resume ready.

  • Networking is vital

    You can find new employment opportunities through current professional relationships when you network consistently.

    When your network knows your skills, personality, and preferences, they will think of you when opportunities arise. Since active professionals of all fields are often busy, make it your duty to remind your friends and colleagues about your availability and your interests regularly.

    LinkedIn is a great online network for professionals. Meetups, chambers of commerce, and alumni events are all great in-person network opportunities. Networking is a worthwhile endeavor for further your career.

  • I hope these tips provide you some guidance if you're feeling insecure about your current position of employment. A little preparation and proactively will go a long way!

    Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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