With recent employment losses in the legal industry, few jobs are completely secure. Below are a few ways to protect yourself from the pink slip and survive lean times.
1. Take responsibility for your actions—whether they yield good or bad results.
When you own up to a decision or a thought process that didn’t work out, you are respected for having honesty and integrity and for being responsible.Dodging responsibility only makes you look like you lack both good judgment and integrity.
2. Serve as an ambassador for your department, both inside and outside your company.
Whenever you interact with individuals in other areas of your company, be consistently positive about your department. Get others in the company excited about projects that your department is working on. Always emphasize how great your boss is.
3. Stay connected to the industry. The more you know about competitors, the more you are able to share that information and respond to competitive forces. That means participating industry meetings and engaging with others in companies in your industry and related industries. You are viewed as a lot more valuable when you are connected.
4. Engage within your department. Think about the biggest challenges your department faces and what you can do to make a difference in terms of addressing those challenges. Your purpose is to identify solutions. It’s essential that you demonstrate initiative to take on these assignments, rather than waiting to be asked.
5. Engage within your company. You should volunteer for committees to enhance your visibility and establish your presence across the organization. Remember, though, with this point and number 5, not to overcommit yourself. If you take on too many extra projects, inevitably, you won’t follow through, and people will be disappointed. “Your reputation will change from a resourceful, valuable colleague to an unreliable, unavailable burden who underdelivers.
6. Stay visible. It’s a psychological thing for your boss to feel more confident about your productivity if she sees you at your desk.
7. Appearance counts. Look good, stay healthy, tweak your image to make sure that how you present yourself visually is, quite frankly, acceptable in the organization. How do leaders in the organization present themselves? Does this inspire confidence? Organizations often have culture threads which have to do with behaviors, performance expectations, as well as how people look and speak. The more you resemble other people at your company, the more likely they are to feel comfortable with you.
8. Never upstage or outperform your boss, especially in meetings. Believe it or not, most bosses respond poorly to being embarrassed. Because your boss is the person you report to, let your boss take credit for anything and everything PUBLICLY, with the expectation that he or she will recognize your value and protect and promote you.
9. If you don’t want a promotion, but just want to keep your job and maintain your performance, make sure your boss knows that.