You walk into your office this morning beaming with smiles, probably the first in a long time; your colleagues are wondering what happened to you the night before. Some minutes before you settle into the day’s work, your boss calls you into his office. He offers you a handshake and a seat, you sat smiling confidently.
He begins conversing with you, explaining how impressed he was on the previous task you handled- right there, as you sit, you are beginning to anticipate a public praise, ‘thank-you’ letter from the Board of Directors, pay raise or promotion- your face brightens. Your boss however digresses by complaining about how unhappy he is on the recent changes the company is going through and how that might change everything. You still have your smile; you don’t see how the changes affect you anyway. He reaches out for something in his drawer and hands it to you. It’s a slip, a pink slip.
Perhaps you are very comfortable with your present job; your bosses hardly ever complain about your work, you have a good basic work relationship with your colleagues-everything seems to be working fine. The thought of losing your job could set you off balance or perhaps grow some apprehension as to what might happen. What the future holds, the different turn(s) your dreams might take, if they ever come to fruition. Apparently, you never thought about this until now.
The famous Steve Jobs got fired from Apple after years of relentless efforts and commitment towards the progress of the Company- a Company he co-founded. I’m quite sure he least expected it and obviously didn’t prepare for it, as quoted from his speech while narrating his experience to an audience in 2005 – “I really didn’t know what to do for a few months.”
Unarguably, the best time to be proactive about such unforeseen circumstances was yesterday.
The following tips will help you prepare against-or towards-, getting fired from work. In other words, keep you employable i.e. relevant in the Organisation where you currently work; otherwise, prevent you from rolling back to the struggle in the Job Market.
– Create and always leave a good impression: Ever had a colleague you never really liked and probably always wished away? That’s what your co-workers do when they perceive you as the black sheep. This certainly spills over into their opinions of you, especially where ‘‘work-politics’’ is concerned; part of the reasons why a highly skilled employee can remain in a particular position for years without being promoted. If you discover that people rarely; listen to your suggestions or recommend you for a task or role, they most likely do not have a good impression of you. It goes without saying that a good first impression is always the first best step to succeed in any relationship and it is strengthened by subsequent impressions. What do people think of you? What would you be missed for? Some of the seemingly trivial things you can do that’ll count are to: Show gratitude when necessary, talk when you should –don’t do all the talking however-, be genial and admirable, motivate people on your team and be an example to colleagues in and outside your department, show avid interest in projects etc. It’s important you are noticed for the right things.
– Up your skills: Rarely would you do the same things and get different results. The world is fast-changing. You may soon realise the world has moved on, yet again, and things are no longer done the way you’ve always done them. So if you are to remain relevant, you have to update your knowledge on; current trends within your industry, what now works – and what’s obsolete. Learn new skills, perfect old skills, tweak your CV as you gain more experience. These things keep you ready for opportunities.
– Embrace opportunities: Opportunities are everywhere, however big or small; we only need to look in the right places. Engage in volunteer work, join groups where there are people with the same interests as yours, actively contribute in their discussions and activities, improve on networking, start up a blog, and contribute on a blog(s). Essentially, explore different opportunities to have your say- and most importantly, be heard.
– Keep learning: A Bachelor’s Degree per se won’t keep you employable. The internet has increased opportunities for learning outside the classroom environment; now you can bag several degrees online in the comfort of your home. Learning transcends all aspects all life so this goes beyond academics. There are several websites that run free online courses involving experts from different fields- Alison.com, Academicearth.org and Udemy.com, to mention a few. You can also follow blogs that talk on things you find relevant to your career and personal development. Blogs within these ambits keep you updated by giving you information and insights within your niche. Learn something new daily.
– Keep in touch: Not only with trends, but also with people. The onus bears on you to keep relationships warm. Find time to strengthen professional and personal bonds. Call a former employer, meet with an old friend, spend more time with your family… Establish face-to-face interaction, as much as you can, with people you rarely come across in your daily life-long endeavour . These are the people you most likely will fall back to when you need career, financial or emotional support. Your next job might be in the hands of someone you already know.
Lastly, happiness or sadness is a choice. In this case, the choice is yours to either do things that make you feel happy, totally independent of your current job position or employment status, or wait for something as significant as losing a job to turn off that spark.
What would you do if you got fired today? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.