We all want to keep our jobs until we decide it’s time to go. But in this unstable post-pandemic economy, even a career that once was consistent and secure isn’t necessarily safe anymore.
The good news is that you’re smart, full of skills, and proactive. You know there’s a lot of instability on the horizon, and you want to protect your career before it gets too rocky.
There hasn’t been an industry that hasn’t been somewhat disrupted by COVID-19, but there are lots of other ways your career could be uncertain. To protect your job, your assets, and your future, follow these seven steps to stability regardless of your career status.
1. Be Flexible
There’s a lot of change going on in the world. If you’re kicking and screaming and fighting it every step, you’re making it harder on yourself and those around you.
The very first thing you need to do is adjust your mindset. Be willing to learn new things and try new approaches. If someone is struggling with something or needs some extra help, step in and cover for them.
When you’re flexible and willing to go the extra mile, you start to make yourself a little more indispensable. At the same time, you’re learning new skills.
2. Keep an Open Mind and Ear
Gossip abounds when people are insecure about their jobs. Before you listen to any of it, get multiple perspectives on the subject. The general rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t go to the person for advice, don’t listen to their gossip.
However, a lot of rumors have at least some basis in truth. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong in your company or with your position directly, keep your ear open to the rumor mill.
Catching the problem and fixing it early can go a long way to protecting your job.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Personal Life
Many times, when a person is concerned about protecting their jobs, they’ll neglect their outside life. When you ignore your marriage, family, and other responsibilities, it has a way of sneaking up on you.
This ends up backfiring because you bring your personal problems into the job, whether you want to or not. It could be because you’re not sleeping as well, worried about your stresses. Or it might be that you have to take extra time off work to deal with the problems you now have.
There is a reason why a healthy work/life balance is the key to a successful career. Too much work and not enough rest leads to burnout, which can destroy your career.
4. Keep Working Toward Your Goals
Having goals for your career serves multiple purposes. It keeps you moving forward and learning new skills, for one thing. When you never stagnate, you are less likely to get burnt out on your job.
When those goals are in line with your current role, your supervisors see the potential benefit you could bring the company as you grow. It’s more likely that if an employee had to be on the chopping block, it would be someone with less initiative.
But if you ever did end up with the pink slip, because of your ambition and drive, it would be a minor setback instead of a life-changing problem.
5. Read Your Contract
A lot of professional careers come hand-in-hand with onboarding and contracts. Who really pays attention to all of that legalese when they’re first hired?
Everyone should, but most of us are so snowed under by learning all the new roles we have that we don’t. And that’s where the fine print could actually be your downfall.
As you evaluate the stability of your career, read your contract again, thoroughly this time. If there’s anything in there that sounds dangerous to your job, consider hiring a contract lawyer to see if you have any legal rights.
For more on contract law and when an attorney might be helpful, check out this article.
6. Protect Your Assets
Let’s face it. No amount of hard work and long hours can keep you completely sheltered from every possible career-damaging issue.
You have to take some preventative measures to mitigate the damage if you ever did find yourself out of a job. Protecting your assets doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as:
- Investing in health, life, and disability insurance
- Taking out mortgage and other asset protection coverage
- Having a diverse investment portfolio
- Keeping at least six months’ worth of bills in a savings account
Most people’s major stress of losing their job is the financial concern. If you’ve taken precautions to limit the damage, you can focus on protecting your career in other ways.
7. Increase Your Networking Skills
Sometimes, it’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know.
Sure, this isn’t always fair. Still, it’s the way of the world, and you can use it to your advantage.
As you branch out and meet new people, you’re improving your networking skills. You may not even realize it, but you’re enhancing your communication talents, learning how to listen and empathize, and building a circle of connections.
You never know who is going to be beneficial in your work path, either now or in the future. One thing is certain, though: Your professional network is integral to protecting and growing your career!
Whether you’re a concerned employee trying to make a good impression or you truly have a reason to be worried, you want to protect your career. These seven steps will help you do what it takes to be the best you can be and recover quickly if the “worst” does happen!