Chances are in the coming days and weeks you’re going to be spending some time with family and friends, celebrating the holidays – and worrying. Worrying about your job, the economy and what’s going to happen in the next year with your employer.
But despite the bad news that seems to turn up every day, there are things you can do now – and in the coming year – to keep your worries in check and to make a positive impact on your career.
For successful entrepreneur and longtime manager G.L. Hoffman, the key to making it through these tough times begins with changing your perspective. Now chairman of JobDig, (www.jobdig.com) an employment-focused media company, Hoffman says too many people have become lackadaisical when it comes to their jobs, and that makes them vulnerable if layoffs do occur.
“There are a lot of people who need to work harder at work,” he says. “What I mean by that is that they need to make themselves indispensable. They need to go home at night and think about how they’re going to do a better job. Managers shouldn’t be telling employees everything that needs to be done. Employees need to ‘see’ the work that needs doing, and do it.”
That blunt talk is a hallmark of Hoffman’s website, “What Would Dad Say,” and his new book, “Dig Your Job: Keep It or Find a New One,” which is publishing through Amazon’s Kindle and as a $9.99 e-book (http://blogs.jobdig.com/wwds/dig-your-job/).
He says he has some advice about what the employed need to do to be more valuable in the coming year and protect their jobs. He says some of an employee’s resolutions for 2009 should include:
- Working 10 percent harder. “That’s not that difficult. Anyone can do that, and it will make a big difference,” he says.
- Having a positive attitude. “Believe me, bosses notice when you not only have a positive attitude, but you encourage other people to do the same,” Hoffman says. “It counts for a heck of a lot. It makes someone worth hanging on to.”
- Dressing up, at least sometimes. Hoffman says that one young man in his casual-wear office began wearing a tie every Tuesday, which began influencing everyone in the office to dress nicer that day. “It showed me a lot. He’s become a sort of informal leader. I wish I could say it’s definitely affected productivity, but what I do know is that it has had an impact. He influenced the entire group in a good way.”
- Telling stories. When talking to people outside of work – even family and friends – share stories of how what you do at work makes a difference. “I remember my Dad coming home from work every night and all he did was complain,” Hoffman says. “I think we need to tell others how what we do really does make a difference to our company. Talk about how you helped a customer or worked on a project. It’s important to let others know – and remind yourself – that there are positive things about your job. A company appreciates you doing that, and it’s also good for you.”
- Using manners. Stress often brings out the worst in people, Hoffman says, but being rude to co-workers and customers will backfire. “Do something nice for someone and don’t expect anything in return,” he says. “Make it a point to be known for your manners.”
- Continually learning something new. “No matter what your current job, you can learn something new,” he says. “Think small, incremental skills development. They all add up.”
- Giving yourself pep talks. “People work really hard at getting a job, and within the first week they find out that the boss doesn’t always treat them well as they thought he would or the product isn’t as great as it was presented, and they sort of lose interest in their job,” Hoffman says. “Learn to give yourself a positive talk. Get it together. Work hard, be positive and do the things you need to do.”
Anita Bruzzese is author of “45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy…and How to Avoid Them” (www.45things.com). Write to her c/o: Business Editor, Gannett News Service, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22107. For a reply, include a SASE.