Avoid The Ax. Stay One Step Ahead Of Your Boss.

by QuickCert on February 23, 2011

Avoid The Axe At Work

Today you have a job and a paycheck. Tomorrow, you may not have either.

Of course, being a victim of downsizing can never happen to you. That is, until it does… just like it does every day to thousands of other educated, hardworking, always-on-time-and-stay-late IT professionals.

The cold fact is you – and everyone you work with – are expendable. And if you want long-term, gainful employment and a constant paycheck, you’ll have to become shrewd. As shrewd as your company. As shrewd as your boss.

For those lacking in this department, the following will help get you started.

Provide High Yields
Your job equals a livelihood to you; and you likely think of it in terms of hours and salary. But the boss sees you as an investment and expects his ROI to return many more dollars to the company than are going into your paycheck.

To improve your job security, strive to raise the boss’ ROI in you. This means working every day to bring more to the table than is in your job description. Learn to pay attention to how the company is doing things and take the initiative to propose ways of doing them better, faster and cheaper.

And when you’re not busy improving the company or performing your regular job duties, offer to take on additional responsibilities. The more hats you wear, the more value you provide.

Research Like A Spy
Know what’s going on in your company and industry. You can likely find out everything you need by surfing the Internet, asking your superiors and socializing around the company watering hole.

It’s especially important to know when new infrastructure systems are being planned. Staying abreast of news like this may be easier since you’re already plugged into the IT department. But no matter “how” you know – just make sure you do.

Study Like A Nerd
Using what you know (and learn) about the IT industry and how your company is (or isn’t) capitalizing on it, you’ll be able to decide which skill sets your company will need from you in the future.

A good example is when businesses make gradual shifts from in-house infrastructure to virtualization and/or SaaS platforms. New systems call for new skills. By acquiring them before your boss puts out a “Help Wanted” sign, you’ll be solidifying your future within the company.

Socialize Like a Politician
It’s who you know. Being liked by the right people goes a long way after experience and qualifications run out of steam.

This is not to suggest you get all Machiavellian in the office. But it does mean you should take extra effort to build relationships with your colleagues. Something as simple as occasionally making small talk with your superior can go a long way.

Get Real
Outsourcing is here to stay. (Yes, your boss knows this too.) The paradoxical key to career longevity these days is to focus on self. Improve your own skill set, hone your talents and always be open to new opportunities.  Do everything you can to put yourself in a position to be ready to run out the door toward a new opportunity, the moment the ax comes swinging for your neck.