Recently, two clients
wanted to talk to me about their careers. Not surprisingly, both work
in organizations that are downsizing.
The first client
(I'll call him Bill) heard rumors there might be another round of
layoffs in the next four to six weeks. He wanted some advice on how
to avoid being a casualty. Bill was essentially looking for survival
My second client
(I'll call her Carla) was faced with a similar situation. There was
also a lot of uncertainty in her company. But Carla had a completely
different mindset. Her question to me was, "How can I take advantage
of downsizing to advance my career?"
If your company
is reducing staff, I encourage you to ask the same question.
create opportunities. There are more problems to solve, risks to take
and challenges to overcome. This is fertile ground for future leaders.
As a wise sage
once said, "Character isn't made during a crisis, it is only
Instead of hand-wringing,
try raising your hand. Volunteer for the project no one else wants
to take on. Companies are less likely to fire (and more likely to
promote) problem solvers.
And if you're
having trouble staying motivated during these difficult times, the
article below may provide the fuel to keep you going.
As companies continue
to announce layoffs, operating losses and even salary reductions,
what can employees do to stay interested in their jobs?
A lot of my clients
work at fast moving, high growth companies. They've come to expect
annual raises, be promoted, continue to grow their careers and have
countless opportunities. This has been the culture for years. However,
in today's economy, raises and promotions are few and far between.
Even though many
say "I should be thankful I have a job and grateful I get a paycheck,"
it's not how they actually feel. Fact is, they feel guilty they are
worrying about raises and promotions while others are far less fortunate.
can be very difficult, especially for people who have wanted (and
deserved) a raise or promotion and now it's going to take even longer
to get one. They feel it might never happen and they start to lose
for my clients (and I am sure many of you) is how to stay motivated
at work when you have fewer incentives.
Here are six strategies
that can help:
in the things you DO control.
Even though you may feel you have no control and circumstances are
controlling you, there are many things about your job that you can
"own" and feel good about. Make a list of those things
and set objectives for each. Then, when you reach those objectives,
find ways to celebrate or reward yourself.
personal work-related goals.
Forget about salary increases and promotions for the next six months
(or until the economy improves). Instead, identify three or four
new, personal goals you can achieve. Consider training opportunities
or skills that will make you more marketable. For example, invest
and learn how to use your new iphone or blackberry.
for a challenging project or developmental opportunity.
Look for an assignment that can help you break out of the everyday
routine. Consider projects totally outside your area of expertise,
yet something you feel you could add value to. These can energize
and motivate and, once successfully completed, can be added to your
Make a list of five or six things that you find most enjoyable about
your job or a job you've held in the past. Think about things that
"get your juices flowing." These could include mentoring
a junior employee, giving presentations, organizing a special event,
representing your group in an interdepartmental committee, etc.
Then look for ways to add more of these opportunities into your
yourself for better times.
While others in the organization are playing the "woe is me"
card, consider this an opportunity to get more visibility and build
your reputation as a trusted, positive team player. It's only a
matter of time before promotions and raises will be restored. You'll
want your name to be on the top of the list.
motivational opportunities outside of work.
While your work life might seem at a standstill, don't let this
spill over into your personal life. This is an excellent time to
restore balance to your life. Train for a 10k, and take your family
or friends to an outdoor festival. Maybe you'll realize that raises
and promotions aren't as important as you once thought they were.
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