Creating Options at Brand "You"

You’re tired of the race. Tired of working tirelessly in shifting sands of corporate America as an exempt FTE. But you do it with the hope of the BIG payday. You’ve got options in the company, and it seems that if everyone just works a little harder, the pay-off will come.

But what if it doesn’t? What if you’ve burrowed down into your cube, cranked out pounds of code/ marketing collateral/ analytical models/ CRM entries, and the company still burns through the remaining cash before IPO or acquisition? Uh – now what?

Here’s something I’ve heard myself saying quite a bit lately, particularly to folks that are with companies struggling to define direction, or struggling to execute on change initiatives: “Whatever other investments you make right now, you need to be thinking about how you ensure more options when you leave than when you came here.”

Whatever else you get out a day’s work – compensation, satisfaction with a job well done, participation in a like-minded community – you need to ensure that you are also increasing your professional options.

Here are a few simple ways to ensure that, should the time come, you have more alternatives when you hit the market place.

  • Get to know those you work with at your current company. Everyone goes somewhere, and just because you aren’t currently in marketing/ finance/ sales doesn’t mean that your next big break won’t come from one of the guys you impressed while you’ve been working here. Since the 21st truism will be “you won’t retire from here,” everyone will eventually move on, and we all remember the talented co-workers we’ve relied on in the past.
  • Participate in professional organizations in your area of expertise. If past co-workers can create current and future cross-functional opportunities, developing relationships with professional peers can increase your likelihood of getting an interview with their companies if and when the day should come. As important as what you know, who you know swings a big stick.
  • Get certified where it counts. While there are a thousand and one professional organizations offering certifications, there are a much smaller handful that are truly meaningful within the various realms of expertise. While certifications are less critical when you know the autonomous decision maker, they also make it much easier for all members of a hiring team to say “yes” to getting you engaged. Soliciting recommendations on certifications from your present managment team or mentor also sends a clear message that you have bigger plans for yourself than you are realizing today.

So while not revolutionary, well worth considering where you stand as we enter the new year. Just as businesses create a balance sheet of assets, now is a good time to inventory your assets and options as well. Make this the year that start turning down unsolicited offers.

This entry was posted in Branding, Career, Measure, Networking, Recognition. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Creating Options at Brand "You"

  1. Scot Herrick says:

    I’ve had this approach to work:

    job skills + job performance = more opportunities

    One of the things to consider in any position is what types of job skills this will give you so that your next position will be better.

    Plus, if a job isn’t meeting your expectations, you still need to be performing well in the work — it gives you accomplishments to provide your next prospective employer.

    Good post.

  2. Steve Errey says:

    A strategy I use with clients sometimes is to shift the way that you see your job. In essence this is about looking at yourself as the CEO of ‘You Inc.’ You’re the boss of a company with one employee – you – a company that specialises in offering services that only you can provide. Your role and responsibilities as CEO of ‘You Inc.’. are to –

    – set a clear vision and direction for the company
    – make sure that the company runs smoothly and safely
    – build the company culture and style of operation in line with vision and values of the company
    – ensure that the services are provided to your clients at the proper quality
    – put strategies in place for the future and growth of the company
    – make sure that you’re selling your services to the best clients to enhance your portfolio, track record, service provision and experience.

    The bottom line is that the people who buy your services (your employers) do so because they need three things from you – your time, skills and experience.

    You have things they need and they pay you in exchange for those things. The ideal situation is to sell access to those things (and even your strengths, passions, enthusiasm and talents too) to the companies that give you a match with your vision, direction and values.

    So the question turns into one of strategy. What strategies do you need to put in place to ensure the growth, prosperity and future of your company?

    This puts you squarely in the drivers seat, and it’s kind of refreshing, isn’t it?

  3. Pingback: Getting to the Next You: Employment Contract or Employability Compact? | More than a living

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