A 2012 Gallup study says that 70 percent of American workers are not reaching their full potential causing the U.S. to lose $450 to $550 billion (with a “b”) each year in lost productivity.
If you are in the 70 percent, you are working for a company not reaching its profit potential. This company will very likely look at downsizing or layoffs to lower expenses and therefore enhance profit. And when this happens, they will look at the 70 percent of their workers who are not reaching their full potential to cut.
So what can you do about this to enhance your position and move into the top 30 percent? Here are a few steps to follow that will help you stand out in a positive way:
Understand your strengths and/or talents. If you need to, get professional input to be sure you know exactly what they are. Talk to your boss about them to be sure he/she knows.
Work with your boss so that he/she knows your strengths and/or talents and gives you responsibilities that allows you to do your best work.
Continue to learn more about your company and what it is trying to accomplish so you can add your part.
Also, continue to learn more about your job and your strengths and talents so you can do even better work.
Network well within your profession to enable yourself to be aware of the latest thinking and technology in your field.
Keep yourself in good physical shape for you to maximize the potential to have the energy to do your best.
Support what your company is trying to do at all times, be committed to its goals and communicate them to others.
Commit yourself to an unrelenting quest to make yourself better at what you do.
If you do these things you make yourself better at what you do and therefore better at contributing to the company’s success. And, you will own yourself and your future.
But if you are stuck, or your immediate boss does not want to help, or sees you as a threat, keep on doing the things that will make you better anyway. This may not guard you from being downsized or laid off, but it does guarantee you will be better at what you do for your next position whether at your current company, another one, or your own.
Since I retired from my business in 2012, I have been looking for a way to share the many lessons I learned that will help someone else.
Well folks, after a lot of looking, I believe I have found a way! I want to help executives who, in mid-career, have been downsized or laid off. I feel very passionate about this because I was downsized four times in my career and the fifth time was looming when I took control of my future and started my business, John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, at age 57.
I realized this new passion while speaking to the Fall 2013 graduating class of the Michigan Shifting Gears program. Many of the approximately 40 mid-career executives had been laid off or downsized; some were still working but all entered the 8-week program seeking to redirect or refocus their career. Shifting Gears gave them that and more.
It make me think of the impact downsizing has on workers, a subject I often blog about, have personally endured and recount in my book. It is unfortunate that layoffs and downsizings happen, yet it is a fact of working life. Layoffs always happen, and always will.
So, how can employees of a century-old banking giant, or a truck plant in Toledo, or anywhere subject to business disruption ever truly prepare for such a career calamity? The key is knowing that this could happen to you, and preparing for involuntary separation long before it happens. Continue reading →
Layoffs and downsizings have been happening to people practically since the beginning of time. This happens to many good people, and quite often, more than once.
When it does happen, you may feel like a failure, a louse, a complete and utter zero. “I’m too old to start over! This is awful! My career could be over!” Then you have to tell people like your spouse, the kids, and all of your other family and friends. Things could not be worse, or so you may feel.
It is hard to realize that a layoff is not an ending, but rather, a beginning. You now have an immediate opportunity to reevaluate yourself and your career, and then plan for a new future. I have gone through this four times and almost a fifth. To me, each was an exciting time. It can be for you, too! Continue reading →