New Year Resolutions

“From a job point of view, I really want to feel a bit more secure this next year. Do you have any suggestions for any appropriate New Year’s Resolutions I could make?”

This question was put to me by Kate R during a workshop lunch break on the run up to Christmas. It’s a common question, but difficult to answer. So much depends upon where you are presently working and in what circumstances. Also, generally, we are all great at making resolutions and terrible at sticking with them so it’s much better to draw up a shorter list of resolutions, but make sure you follow them through.

Let’s take the more conventional job and career situation first.

Sources of security. Assuming that your employer and your position are both reasonably secure, your own job security basically flows from two sources: continuing to be competent at what’s required of you; and showing your future potential.

Competence. If you’re competent today, it’s tempting to assume that you’ll still be competent next year. Unfortunately that fails to recognise that the world around you constantly changes. For example, you might have been the world’s best secretary and touch typist, but if you didn’t learn new PC, email and internet skills the odds are that you won’t still be doing that job today.

Your first resolution might be to – Review what changes and developments might impact upon your job function, department, organisation and markets in the next couple of years. Identify what new skills or experience might consequently be required in your own role. Plan specifically how you will develop those in this next period.

Future potential. Simplistically, if your boss thinks you’re good then your potential is high. If you’re perceived as average then your potential is effectively zero. No one ever sets out on a search for Mr. or Mrs. Average when a new role or opportunity crops up.

Your second resolution might therefore be – Think: “What can I do today (or this week, or this month, etc.) that will make things work better tomorrow (or next week or next month, etc.)?”. Plan to do just one thing and complete it. Repeat ad infinitum.

If those two together don’t strongly increase your security and prospects, I’ll personally come and talk to your boss for you!

Now let’s move on to the less conventional side of working life.

Insecurity - Your organisation or job function might be highly at risk. Maybe your field of work is generally just a volatile one. Perhaps you’ve been driven from pillar to post and therefore struggled to get a career-theme under your belt. Maybe you work for the most unreconstructed boss in the world and always feel under threat.

Whatever. In these cases you may be thinking “Job security? You’re havin’ a larf, ain’t ya?”. So what do you do? If volatility and insecurity are the way of things, plan to stop thinking and worrying so much about the risks and problems.

Resolve to do the following for your CV:

  1. Think about what you’ve achieved for your employer(s) in your role(s). Make a list of things that are better because of what you’ve done (or things that would certainly have been worse if you hadn’t played your part).
  2. Think about what makes you better (or could make you better) and therefore more employable than the other people who are in your situation. What skills could you, or should you, try and develop which would add a lot of perceived value?
  3. Re-do your CV with both of these in mind and: show what you have done; show what you are doing; show what you will do; and finally show what you could do!

Seeing yourself in a bigger picture. Even though you may be a commodity for sale, you can increase your perceived worth in any given situation. If you know you’re quite likely to have to look for a new job every six months, you might as well develop the broader skills to be really good at doing so.

Good luck with this next year. If you have any specific questions surrounding this blog post, or any of my others, do please email. I’ll do my best to answer, or include you in another posting.

Happy New Year to you!