Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Downsize Your Career

The avalanche of ongoing job losses is beginning to produce a depressing theme.

On TV and in articles posted in newspapers, magazines and across the Internet, so-called pundits are claiming that this is a good time to downsize your lifestyle since, for the foreseeable future, you won't be able to find a job that pays as well as the one you have or had.

Give in and accept this new career reality, they say. Reorder your priorities, take stock, and reshuffle the deck. Spend more time with yourself, family and friends. Branch out into new recreational activities, undertake non-work related challenges, downsize your lifestyle and reduce your goals.

A defeatist attitude is your worst enemy

Certain financial rearrangements may very well be necessary, but the idea that the current slowdown requires scaling back on your career aspirations is just plain wrong.

That approach is not only a recipe for stifling personal ambition ... it's also the best way to ensure that American business takes a permanent back seat to emerging economies across the globe.

Of course, in this climate, one needs to add creative options to a job search. Not-for-profit positions, consulting, government jobs, entrepreneurial ventures and a host of out-of-the-box possibilities should absolutely be a part of anybody’s job search, but to abandon the idea of finding a job as good or better than the one you had is a mistake.

I work with plenty of executives who are uncovering opportunities. Yes, it’s more difficult to ferret them out and yes, it’s taking longer, but the reality is that good jobs still exist because company needs still exist. And given the current state of the economy, those needs are greater than ever.

Bring something worthwhile to the table

The secret to finding a good job is straightforward ... help an organization make or save money.

Executives are getting hired based on their ability to solve problems, add value and improve the bottom line.

Finding receptive companies takes effort, research and persistence. But it’s hard to be turned away when your work will produce or save more money than it'll cost to hire you.

It’s up to you to show them how.

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