Recession-proof your job: Part 2

In my first article, I outlined three practical tips that could keep you two steps ahead of the pink slip. Here are four more empowering actions:

uIncrease your “intelligence.” Improve your knowledge of the issues and trends affecting your organization. Getting engaged and educated helps you understand the challenges your employer is facing. Read the company newsletter, memos, bulletin boards, and trade magazines. Also, visit a public library and read national newspapers and business journals. Pay attention, take notes, and ask questions. In times like these, ignorance is not bliss.

uKeep an “Atta Boy/Girl” file. Every process you streamline, problem you solve, or praiseworthy event should be recorded by you. Don’t assume it’s being done — or even remembered — by your supervisor or HR. Document your achievements in a notebook, or keep a folder in your desk. Think quality (worth) and quantity (numbers) statements. If you reorganized your team’s filing system and there are no more lost records, write it down. Or, if you sold 30 percent more product this month, note that too. Detailing your accomplishments provides evidence of your value.

uAsk the obvious question: What can I do to make myself more valuable to my work? Remember, decision makers are asking the opposite question: Who is not that valuable to this organization? Tip the scales in your favor by asking what specific duties or skills would provide extra benefit to the organization right now.

uAccept a part-time position. If you’re sitting in the exit interview, rethink just accepting the severance package — if there is one — and fading away. At this moment, everything is negotiable. If you like where you work, leverage yourself by offering to work part-time; it shows loyalty, flexibility, and keeps your foot in the door for when things turn around.

If things are presently OK at your job, now is the time to position yourself for greater job security. Become so valuable to your company that if they cut you, they’ll bleed.