I ran across an article from my friends at MSN Careers/Career Builder this morning and its' topic was how to “Bulletproof Your Job”. There were several items in this article that if I did work for someone else would have inspired me to quit. Here's the article:
There are a few items that I had issue with in this article. The first is when they talk about being visible. This is the first way the article talks about keeping your job. It's not bad advice but if you are “invisible” at your current job my first question would be, why? Is your performance not up to standard? Do you not participate in any work conversations? It may be that you are invisible because you aren't engaged in what you are doing. If that's the case no amount of sucking up or hard work will change that. It will just make you hate it more. How about their suggestion to work more hours as a means for standing out? This can be a double edged sword. Are you effective or are you busy?
The second issue I have is the suggestion to become a utility player at your firm. While I do agree that being someone who is willing to step outside of their role and help when needed is necessary and helpful, but it can also be a means to an early exit. Utility players don't have staying power anywhere because they never become great at any one thing. They are just pretty good at a lot of things. I guarantee that you are more likely to lose out to the specialist in a scenario of who to keep because more often than not their performance will exceed yours. Being a utility player also lends you to doing a ton of things that you hate doing. Do you really want to be the person that everyone dumps unwanted work items on?
Last is the suggestion that your job is your greatest asset. Are you kidding me? YOU, are your greatest asset hands down. You are the one who nails the interview, who has built the skills, who has educated themself. A job is only a means to express that. It is not the end all, be all.
The most ironic part of this article was the ending that talked about staying ready just in case you need to find another job. I agree with that, but isn't the article about being bulletproof? Maybe the article should be called “A Kevlar vest works great unless you get shot in the head….In that case Good Luck to You”.
Nowhere in this article do they suggest value creation. You know, actually contributing to a companies' bottom line. My suggestion to you if you are worried about losing your job is to ask yourself a couple of questions. Do I love what I do? Can I specifically measure my success as it pertains to my companies goals? If the answer is no, do yourself a favor and find out why and if it can't be fixed in your current situation then do something else and do it quick.