Make yourself indispensable. There are as many ways to make yourself indispensable as there are reasons for your boss to curyou loose. It pays to whip up the glue that will help you stick around. Does your sales manager beef that no one is a team player? Hand off the ball every chance you get and then dive in blocking to help the other guy score a touchdown.
Stick out and shine. “The invisible guy is the first to go,” warns executive recruiter Stephen Viscusi in a recent Fortune article. It doesn’t matter how you shine, as long as it’s positive for the company. Play third base n the softball team. If your boss’s favorite charity is a soup kitchen for the down-and-out, learn how to ladle. Shoot the marketing VP that hot-off-the-press competitor’s brochure a customer left in your office. Sprinkle your profile all over the company landscape. It’s a lot harder to terminate a face than a social security number.
Educate yourself one notch up. Skilled marketers practice nichemanship in defining a tightly focused market and then bombarding it with custom-designed products. Savvy career survivors practice notchmanship. They study the resumes of managers on the next level and do their best to match and even surpass their career credentials. That isn’t just restricted to formal degrees. It means loading up on those books, business journals, trade industry reports, Web sites, and bloggers that your firm’s leading lights favor.
Think big picture. Your annual performance review is next week and the departmental budget is stretched-recalling retired CBS anchorman Dan Rather-“as tight as a too-small bathing suit on a too-hot car ride back from the beach.” Back off. Maybe you come out and say the review can wait, there are more important priorities. Chances are you won’t need to say anything at all. Cynics may brand you as a chump. In the tug-of-war to stay employed, you’re likelier to come across as the champ who still has a desk.
For more tips on job hunting, interviewing, and keeping your job, read my book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door”.