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Tips on Staying Employed in the Recession


11/12/2008 4:00:54 PM

November 11 (Marketwire) -- Many young corporate types have figured out what once seemed like the hardest part of business -- juggling too much to do and pleasing too many demanding managers.

That's easy. Now comes the really hard part: Utilizing down time and slow times effectively to keep your job -- or at least stay employed, according to Jodi Glickman Brown, founder of Great on the Job, which helps top-tier financial firms and other corporate employers make their young professionals better at work and better communicators.

"It may feel like lean times are when there's the least amount of things to do. But in reality, that's when there's the most to do. Effective use of recession 'white space' is critical to your career, and there's no simple rule book," said Ms. Glickman Brown. "One thing is for sure: Selling yourself is more important than ever. Drifting around and just 'looking busy' is an approach that probably won't work."

Ms. Glickman Brown is available to discuss a range of ways to ensure that the downturn doesn't damage a career -- and, in a strange way, can even help it. For instance...

-- Don't be afraid to show you're available -- but be smart about it: "A slowdown is a great time to reach out to managers and peers," Ms. Glickman Brown says. "Volunteer for new projects -- but do it in a smart way. Don't say 'I've got nothing to do,' say 'I've got a few things going on, but I do have capacity and I know you're working on the XYZ project we discussed last month and I'd like to get involved.' Or, 'I know we brainstormed about reaching out to the client -- can I help get that started?' Showing that you're thinking ahead of management will give you an edge. The offer will be appreciated. Everyone's less busy but everyone still has something they don't want to do -- and they'll welcome the help."

-- Take calculated risks: "This is not a time to stay safe and stick with your core competencies -- you need to stretch," Ms. Glickman Brown advises. "Volunteer for projects involving subject matter and skill sets that aren't necessarily in your background -- or that you don't know how to do. That's how you expand your skills and make yourself more valuable to your employer -- and your next one." It's okay to ask for help when you're stretching beyond your comfort zone -- again, in a smart way. You can ask for examples of the kind of project or document you're working on, provide interim steps or milestones such as a draft or initial bullet points before presenting a final work product and ask for feedback along the way.

-- Be an instigator: "Do things that add to your group's infrastructure: Offer to write case studies, compile best practices and even start new programs, like mentoring for junior employees or brown bag lunches to discuss new ideas," Ms. Glickman Brown says. The goal is to show that you're proactive and have new ideas to bring to the table -- remind people that you're a valuable employee and show, subtly, perhaps, that you're even indispensable.

-- Build relationships and network -- but don't be too frantic about it: "Most people know that networking is always important -- although it's something that tends to fall by the wayside when people are too busy. Now's the ideal time to re-focus on building relationships in and out of your group or company. Be realistic in your approach -- for instance, don't ask a superior you don't know out to lunch. Instead, introduce yourself to that person, let him or her in on any common interests you have and stay in touch via email or notes," she says.

-- Take care to be there: "This is the wrong time to say you're too busy for a new project -- even if you are. Be happy to have it. Don't say you can't work on something, ask for extra time off, look like you've been out too late or disappear for hours on end without letting people know," she says. In slow times, appearances are more important than ever.

"By stretching for new challenges -- and by staying visible even when you think it's dangerous -- you can use the downturn as an opportunity to add new skills and position yourself for the next big opportunity," Ms. Glickman Brown says. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Itay Engelman of Sommerfield Communications at (212) 255-8386 or itay@sommerfield.com.

About Jodi Glickman Brown

Jodi Glickman Brown is president of Great on the Job, a career consulting firm that advises workers how to use communications and workplace skills to stand out under any conditions. Her clients include major Wall Street firms, top-tier business schools and universities. A former investment banker at Goldman, Sachs' & Co, she is the author of the forthcoming book, "Great on the Job: Communication Strategies for Navigating the Workplace." For more information, visit www.greatonthejob.com.

Contact:
Itay Engelman
Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
212-255-8386
itay@sommerfield.com

SOURCE: Great on the Job



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