What’s the best way to make sure you are OK for income and a job in the future? There’s no such thing as a 100% secure job any more, and in fact a 90% secure job, if you could find one, would probably be a bad idea because if the 10% happens you’ll not have a survival mindset.
So here are some thoughts:
Be T-shaped – have a wide breadth of knowledge and skills, a bit of everything if you can – sales, negotiating and commercial skills, knowledge of finance, knowledge of all the products, ability to present, management and organisational skills including project management, basically being a useful all-rounder. And also, the vertical of the T, be a specialist at something, the go-to indispensable expert on something. Take some extra time to really learn about and master something, ideally something you already enjoy and are interested in.
Up-to-date CV – just in case, heaven forbid, if you suddenly got the push – or if an opportunity came along, maybe you meet someone who is looking to recruit someone like you – have your CV ready. It’s always good to have a review of your current offering anyway – what can you offer the world at the moment, and are there any gaps that you could be filling to complete your offering? Even if you’re employed you’re still constantly selling and re-selling your collection of skills to a customer: your employer: so, is what you’ve got to sell good enough?
What’s Growing? What’s the future? From on-line training to globalisation, from electric cars to environmental and green areas, ageing population, mobile and wearable devices, robots and AI, automation of routine tasks, how do the P.E.S.T. trends impact your job and what could/should you be focussing on and preparing for?
Have a Plan B – what would you do if you lost your job tomorrow, or if your sector / skill area was wiped out by a market or technology change tomorrow? What’s your plan B? Are you dependent on one website or one customer? Are all your eggs in one basket? Or is your second basket under-developed and wobbly? This goes back to being T-shaped and thinking about what’s growing, but be specific – always have a second horse in the running.
Extra Mile – make sure you go the extra mile for every customer, which includes you boss and their boss, your colleagues, your suppliers, even your team. Volunteer to help, volunteer to do that little bit extra. You never know who will remember this and look after you in the future. It doesn’t take much extra time to go beyond what’s expected, and it’ll be noticed because not many people do it. Over the long term, you reap what you sow. And you’ll enjoy it, you’ll get extra pride from your work if you do.
Networking: become a collector of people, take every opportunity to introduce yourself to people, find out about them, help them, become their friend, and keep in touch with them. Research has shown that the more people you know, the more income you make – and of course in terms of options and therefore security in uncertain times, the more contacts you have the better.
Ikigai – it’s a bit of a luxury when we’re thinking about security and survival, but even in uncertain times I think it’s a good idea to have one eye on where you WANT to go. If you’re going to have a plan B and learn about new things you might as well make them the things that you are interested in. So your Ikigai is your Life Purpose – a combination of what you love doing, what you’re good at, what makes a difference, and what you can get paid for.
Self-Development – the biggest single thing you can do for your future security and prosperity is to strengthen your offering, and these days it’s not about muscles any more, it’s all about what’s between your ears. Skills and knowledge are the key to surviving and prospering in the modern world. Do you have a skill that will always be in demand, do you have knowledge that people will pay for? How can you get even better at your job, and how can you broaden your skills? Keep reading, keep learning, keep going on training courses, keep coming out of your comfort zone, volunteer for things that will stretch you, keep having new experiences, keep travelling and seeing new things and meeting new people – never get lazy. Staying the same is effectively moving backwards if everyone else is moving forwards – which they are. Explode that brain!
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