Have you overstayed your welcome with your present employer?

Posted on October 2, 2012

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Editor’s Note: Great post from Roz Usheroff’s The Remarkable Leader Blog.

The other day I read an article in Forbes by Paolina Milana titled “5 Signs it’s Time to Leave Your Company.”

It was an interesting piece in that it talked about the need to read the signs as it relates to whether or not your company is a sinking ship.  Citing ominous warnings such as senior management’s focus on cutting costs as opposed to investing in new opportunities, Milana suggested that under such circumstances one should look to jump ship.

This got me to thinking.  What are the signs that your present position with your company is at risk?  Specifically, the company is doing well but your value as an employee is no longer recognized.

In my twenty plus years working as a Leadership, Image and Branding Specialist, it is safe to say that in the majority of instances where someone after years of dedicated service suddenly finds themselves unemployed, there is always surprise and hurt.  Despite this initial reaction, most upon further reflection have said that in hindsight there were signs that they should have noticed.

For example, one senior manager, who was just recently let go by her company after 15 years, lamented the fact that she had only made token efforts to find a new job despite clear indications that trouble was on the horizon.  When asked why, she said that after so many years of being recognized for her work, she found it difficult to believe that she would be the odd person out, especially having come through two previous mergers/acquisitions unscathed.

The fact that she had made every effort to become part of the new management team made her termination that much more difficult to understand.  However the underlying truth is that there are often times circumstances beyond our awareness and control that can conspire to undermine our position.  This is why no one is truly safe in terms of job security.

So what do you do if you suddenly feel the outsider shadow looming behind you?

NETWORK!

Network?  What do you mean network?

Quite simply effective networking has many benefits whether you are secure in your job or find yourself on the outside looking in.

Here are a few simple and immediate steps you can take to build a strong supporting network;

  • Take the conversation to your boss rather than waiting for a review or the surprise of a pink slip.  This will enable you to establish a rapport that will lead to a better understanding of your boss’ goals, and better align your abilities to help them to achieve them.
  • Become an active participant in your company’s day-to-day business beyond your job description.  Volunteer for a tough assignment or sit on a committee with individuals you may not know.  Through this kind of involvement you will make new communication inroads that might alert you to possible changes including what you can do to become part of the new direction.
  • Find opportunities to build meaningful relationships with those people who have influence and those who are likely to be involved in discussions as to who stays and who goes.
  • Reach out to your HR partner to seek out advice on your job performance, explaining that you want to be seen as not just relevant but essential to the future of your organization.  In this way, you are building sponsors.
  • Extend your networking activities outside of your company to the broader industry.  If you find that your present position may be at risk, having an established network versus trying to build one on the fly will open more doors on a more immediate basis.

When I spoke with another executive shortly after their unexpected dismissal, he reflected on the fact that the network he had built over the past few years was for him, a port in a storm.  Besides receiving great emotional support from everyone with whom he had interacted, he discovered first-hand how valuable his network was in terms of getting the word out that he was now available and looking for a new position.

So what is the key takeaway from today’s post?  “Your network is your net worth.”

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