Business & Finance Careers & Employment

Seven Tips to Managing Your Career

Being laid off, terminated, down-sized and otherwise escorted to the door with a cardboard box of belongings is not as uncommon as you may think. True, most won't discuss this event and conceal it with great care.

Is there a way to avoid experiencing this fate? Although we cannot control destiny, there are steps every employed person can take that might just minimize the chances of it happening.

Tip 1: Speak up. It is your career, and it is your duty to manage it. One way to do so is to become a known entity. Contribute at the next staff meeting, with insight, research, an opinion or by volunteering for a new corporate initiative.

Tip 2: Seek out partnerships. If you sense a disconnect between your department and another with which you have regular dealings by all means foster a collegial working relationship. Set up a few meetings to brainstorm and collaborate; work will get done faster and will reflect well on you.

Tip 3: Embrace your career choice. Assuming that you are in a profession or job you enjoy, become an advocate. Write a blog, join a professional association, assume the role of a "thought leader." Hard to resist enthusiasm!

Tip 4: Mentor a newcomer or join the "buddy system" at work. Getting involved with the onboarding process, which aims to smooth a new hire's entry process and get him or her up to speed in record time, is a great way to show your commitment to the corporation/employer.

Tip 5: Be nice. Yes, there is power in "nice"! Research shows that the "nice guy or girl" doesn't finish last. A recent study conducted by North Carolina University shows that "being nice and playing well with others gives you a very real competitive advantage. One new study shows that project managers can get much better performance from their team when they treat team members with honesty, kindness and respect. A second study shows that product development teams can reap significant quality and cost benefits from socializing with people who work for their suppliers." And a University of Michigan study found that nice folk had a 60 per cent lower rate of premature death than curmudgeonly peers.

Tip 6:Pepper your conversations with compliments. To build on number five above, and expand on the "be nice" idea, mention that your boss looks great today, tell the shoe-aholic that her shoes are out of this world, and even murmur your sympathy in response to the office woe-is-me complainer. Life is difficult for some; don't add to it. A sincere compliment or a willingness to listen won't hurt.

Tip 7: Ask your boss for a meeting. Be proactive in your career, and ask for feedback. Is there something else he'd like you to do, a project she'd like you to research, a team he would you to join? Remind her of good work you've done in the past and how it has impacted the company and reflected on her. A little PR belongs in every career management toolkit.

And one final tip: Continue building your skills and knowledge. In this fast-paced world, where knowledge is added at lightning speed, you cannot avoid ongoing study. Invest in yourself, and if you do find yourself looking for a new job, you will be well-positioned.

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