With retrenchments going on around the world, many of us are worried about keeping our jobs and livelihoods. While there are no guarantees, you can and should try your best to keep your job in these uncertain times.
1. Keep your job by adding visible value
When the crunch comes and downsizing is the only option, companies have to decide who to keep. In theory, every employee adds value. In reality though, those who add the most visible value stand the highest chance of keeping their jobs.
If you are in sales, your visible value is the revenue you bring in. On the front lines, your value may be visible in written customer feedback. For example, display thank you cards from customers at your work station, tacky as this sounds. The company still needs a core staff when the economy recovers, and they will want to keep their best.
Even if this doesn’t work, you will remind yourself that you have value. And if you added value once, you can do it again. This confidence may be what you need right now to tide you through this period.
2. Offer to accept less pay temporarily
Companies are struggling to cover costs right now. Consider going to your management and offer to accept a lower pay package during this challenging time, or offer to take unpaid leave. You could also organise a group of colleagues to join you, as this would have greater impact.
You’ll be seen as a team player, and these are valuable to any company. All other things being equal, you have a higher chance of keeping your job. And when things recover, your demonstrated leadership may even set you up for a promotion sooner than your peers.
3. Show a reasonably positive attitude
When morale is low, people often work less hard or with less enthusiasm. They take longer lunch breaks, and huddle in groups to talk about the “what ifs”. Participating in these activities will not help you stand out as the star employee any company would want to keep. You can choose to continue giving your best instead of succumbing to the prevailing negativity.
In theatrical circles there is a well-known saying: “The show must go on.” It is this attitude that separates the professional actors from the amateurs. When things go wrong, the true professionals carry on performing. They hold the show together when the rest are panicking and forgetting their lines. A star shines brightest when all around is dark. You can prove your mettle during tough times.
If you cannot keep your job…
Even if you do all this, sometimes life is unfair and the axe falls anyway. In that case, you are still better off for having done the above. It will be easier to ask for an excellent reference if you have done your part to be a model employee.
Like you, I’m worried too. And I hope things work out for all of us.