Xenofact’s Job Hacks #3

It’s Part 3 of Helpful Job Hacks for you, dear reader. I’ve posted Parts 1 and Parts 2, and there’s more to come. As I watch layoffs and stupid decisions screw people over, I want to make sure I get out all the survival tips I’ve gathered over nearly 4 decades.

Life Stuff

Learn Home Budgeting – This is going to help you control your money.  When you control your money, it can’t control YOU, and the job can’t either.

Live Accessibly – If you have control over where you live, find places with good transport, walkability, etc.  This way if you have to switch jobs it’s easier to get there.

Learn What Matters – I downshifted after a bad life phase, and saved money and had a much more fulfilling life.  Take time to review what you really need, what your goals are.  Then you can make the job work for you.

Learn “Happy Frugality” – Learn how to spend money well, so your money goes farther.  Do you need the fancy clothes, etc.?  Besides, when you know how to spend money, the job scene controls you less – and when you’re making more money it goes a lot farther!

Invest – In All Ways – Sure your retirement funds are important since they let you quit work.  But use your job to invest in yourself and your life in ways that give you control.  Retirement funds, training that can turn into a side job, etc.  Channel what you can into using your job to give you control.

Help Out – When you get your career in order help others out.  Share your knowledge, because it sucks.  It’s good for the soul

TACTICS

Be Visible . . . – If people know you in a positive way, you’re harder to fire and people will be less likely to think bad things.  Network, be friendly, maybe do a side thing people see.

. . . Be Invisible – If being visible isn’t your thing or isn’t advisable, learn to be invisible so you don’t get bothered or blamed.  Change up your hours, learn when you can stay silent, learn how to touch base so people think you’re OK.

Get A Side Project – Charities, events, etc. offer a chance to “do something on the side at work.”  This lets you get visible, be seen in a good light, and of course stop doing your actual job.  I’ve seen people get raises based on doing stuff not relevant to their work.

Volunteer To Avoid – Running an errand, taking something across the building, etc. is an excuse to get out of work for awhile.  Use this, because having to hike across the building is probably preferable to sitting at your desk.

Use Your Hobby – Carefully – If you have a hobby relevant for your job, it can help you on the job – say if you’re an artist and you do stuff for the department newsletter.  This can make your job fun, look good, and give you a reason not to work.  It can also result in more work so be careful.

Use Your Devices – Your own devices can let you take advantage of your job.  Sure your phone lets you chat with people, but a cheap laptop might let you write over lunch.  Find ways to use your phone, your own computer, etc. to do more over lunch, hidden in a meeting room, or on your commute.

Magician’s Force – Need to ask someone for a decision?  Make a recommendation that you want and present it as a suggestion or best option.  80% of the time the person or manager will follow your advice as it’s easier.

PEOPLE

Network – Look, you’re stuck at work.  So get to know people as it can help you on the job, keep you update on the gossip, and you may make actual friends.  Then you can band together to take over OR escape.

Nepotism – If you think everyone got their jobs due to qualifications, you’re wrong.  So if you like your job and it’s at a good place, help other people get on board – ethically!  A reference matters, so direct them to go jobs where you are.  Then you can band together . . .

Start An Interest Group – Start a group to share interests -bookclubs, artists, cooking, etc.  This looks good, builds connections, and lets you make allies.

More to come, dear friends, more to come . . .

-Xenofact

Xenofact’s Job Hacks #1

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.

– Xenofact