Layoffs are in the news as the tech sector bigwigs jump on the cut-people-at-random bandwagon. We weirdos, mutants, and mystics are trying to survive in a slack-draining, soul-crushing post-post-Crapitalist hellscape. So your reverend, who has spent some thirty YEARS in the job world, is going to share tips he and others use to survive and prosper on the job – not necessarily DOING the job, just being on it.
This is part One Of Many.
Your Employer Doesn’t Love You – Assume your employer has no emotional attachment or commitment to you at the start. There ARE places that aren’t like this (some nonprofits, education, government, etc.) but assume it’s the norm until proven otherwise.
Work Is Work – Be careful of putting too much into your job. Even in the best conditions a job is still a job. It can be part of who you are, but should not be all of who you are, or someday you won’t quite be yourself.
You Owe Your Employer What They Pay For. Make Them Earn The Rest – You didn’t ask for this system, you’re probably underpaid, and you needed a job or you’d starve. You owe your employer what they pay for and no more. If they earn the rest, GOOD, you’re lucky – or maybe they’re lucky.
Have A Life – Even if your work fits you well (and I am fortunate enough to know what that’s like), have a life. A job is still a job, and in our current economy it’s not enough to have a job to be a happy person. A Life also gives you a fallback when the job gets painful or vanishes, so you have joys and people to call on.
Make It A Game – Surviving on the job can be a pain, so make a game of it. Imagine yourself as a spy or rebel, scavenger or scholar. Find “wins” to rack up. If you’re stuck on a shit job, find a way to make it exciting by choosing how YOU engage in it.
Design Your Cover – As long as it’s not too much work, decide on what your image should be at work. Pick something that lets you be you and lets you get away with it. Be the brilliant curmudgeon, the eccentric do-gooder, the “clueless” genius or whatever. It can even be fun!
Follow The News – You should ANYWAY, but it also helps you see trends that can affect your job. It also lets you see ones to take advantage of. Plus if your employer is about to do something boneheaded you might get advanced warning.
Learn To Make A Resume – Sorry, it’s a survival skill these days. It’s not hard to pick up, but well worth it. You can also help people out on their job searches which means you all have more money, less stress, and a greater chance to turn the system to your ends.
Update Your Resume – Update your Resume regularly – about every 6 months, Just In Case. It also lets you advocate for raises and such at work, or get ideas for training.
Learn To Job Search – Efficiently – Sadly you need to know how to look for a job, so I recommend getting good at it. There are books that may help, but mostly I learned from trial and error, news articles, and others. Once you’re good at it, it takes less TIME and pays off better so you can chill.
Constant Job Searches – Having been through buyouts, layoffs, and more I can say you want to do a regular job search. If your job sucks, do it widely and weekly. If your job is great, only apply to positions elsewhere in your organization (discreetly). Have a buffer Just In Case.
Line Up References – Cultivate references to use on the job and in searches. Also, hey, you can track friends you made on the job. Yes it happens.
Be A Reference – Be a reference for all your co-workers trying to escape the crappy job they work with YOU on. They’ll be grateful, do the same for you, and might help you go somewhere better.
Use Hobbies On Your Resume – They show skill, they show community interest and they make you look more human. People love getting the idea of who you are (or who you want them to think they are).
More to come. Much more to come – I’m breaking this into chunks for now.