Thursday, October 27, 2005

The New Job Security

I need to start reading books that teach me something new instead of firming up what I have already learned. On some level, it's good to see that you're not alone in drawing the conclusions you draw, but branching out is good too. To me, "The New Job Security," is pretty much common sense if you've ever had to worry about keeping a roof over your head in the years following 1990 or so.

The gist is that the new job security involves always being desirable for a company to hire. Develop your skills, your networks, and your knowledge and you'll be fine is the premise of the book. It articulates something called "inverse security" which basically states that the more secure you *feel* in a job, the less secure you actually are. Which means that while you're sitting around being comfortable, your skills and your networks are wasting away with time. It certainly makes sense to me.

The book does develop some ideas worth thinking about, and I took some notes from some of the many exercises the book offers. Here are my notes:

"Can you communicate your value clearly?"

Exercise -

Do a skill inventory of all your strengths and assets. Ask friends because your friends will be more likely to identify your strengths.

In interviews and the like, use a PAR approach which stands for problem, action, result. Pick an accomplishment you are proud of and use that.

"Don't be mushy"

The five new strategies for job security:

1. Take control. Don't let your company or whatever decide who's in control of your career. You are the captain of it, type of deal.

2. Market for mutual benefit. I have been doing this recently, thinking of the employer relationship as a hands-off transaction, which it is. You offer something, they offer something. It is healthy I think on both sides.

3. Stop looking for jobs. This is the one I don't identify with as much. The point is great: look for a problem, not a job. Then propose ways to fill it. I guess my network isn't as developed as some people's, but I am still in the looking for jobs category and so far so good.

4. Network as the norm. We hear a lot about this lately, network. The more people you know, the better your job prospects are, naturally. Don't be a loner. Although, this definitely is personality-driven, so I feel bad for people who are naturally shy or have to work very hard to connect with people.

5. Negotiate in round rooms. This means that you should avoid putting negotiations in terms of "it's either x or y" instead, leave lots of options and more "ways to say yes". Makes sense in theory but is one of those things that is harder in practice.

A useful thing is the "elevator pitch" for yourself.

Intro - I have x years of experience doing y.

list three skills - "what I particularly enjoy doing is"

list two results that you have achieved. So you can use the PAR thing for that.

By Pam Lassiter
ISBN # 1580083978