With the unemployment rate so high, I’ve been pondering about the differences between those that have jobs and those who don’t. Sometimes, it is just being in the right place at he right time, or the wrong place at the wrong time. While I understand that life just happens, I don’t like losing. I want to maximize my chances of getting ahead and staying ahead. Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years that have seemed to help, despite being unemployed twice in my career.
- Don’t sit on your laurels. I know someone who was let go after almost 10 years with his company. People were shocked, but I wasn’t. This gentleman did his job, but he didn’t know much more than he did 10 years ago. If you aren’t constantly learning something new, you’re a sitting duck.
- Don’t assume that your company or industry will be around forever. Keep tabs on what is happening in your industry. Don’t wear your rose colored glasses or believe everything that management tells you. People shouldn’t have been surprised that GM, Ford and Chrysler ran into tough times. The writing was on the wall about 25 years ago.
- If you are trained for a specific industry, be prepared for the inevitable time when the industry declines and companies downsize. You should try to get training that is transferable to other industries.
- Always volunteer for special projects. You learn something new and make yourself known to others in the company.
- Put aside some money every month for a rainy day fund, just in case you lose your job.
- Look for ways to make extra money outside of work. If all you do in your spare time is shop, watch television, play computer games or go on extended trips, you’re wasting your time. By using a little bit of time to diversify your income streams, you will increase your options in the event your main source of income disappears. You can learn about stocks (you can make money in any market! Don’t assume that just because the market tanked in 2007 and 2008 that everyone lost money), real estate, selling on ebay, selling crafts on consignment, write a book, start a blog.
- Always keep your resume updated. It forces you to look at your marketability. If after 1 year at a job, you can’t put something extraordinary on your resume, you’re setting yourself up to become one of the crowd.
- Network outside of work. Join a trade association, volunteer somewhere, serve on a board of a non-profit organization, become a Toastmaster, join a service organization (Rotary, Lions, Chamber of Commerce).
- Get on a workout program. This helps you stay physically fit and focused.
- Get a hobby that helps you balance your life out.
Get Ahead! Stay Ahead!
All the Best!
All the Time!