How to pink slip-proof your job

We are living in a tough working market, with unemployment rates creeping up to all-time highs. Many have found their positions cut. Companies once strong in their market are now closing their doors; others are beginning to get nervous, and fear levels are rising. People are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, trying to reinvent themselves in a down job market.

So how do you separate yourself from the pack? What can you do to increase your personal value? What do you have control over? Here are three simple strategies to protect your job, improve your professional reputation and prove that you are a valuable team member that is irreplaceable.

• Increase your value: “That’s not my job” — eliminate these words from your vocabulary. With all the downsizing and budget cuts, everything just became your job. Take the initiative to learn everything you can at the position you are in, which includes your boss’s duties as well. You want to become indispensable. You want to become the go-to person when someone has a work-related question or a problem; become the specialist.

Recreate your position, adapt the job description to the current market. Analyze the current processes in your office — are there things that can be streamlined or eliminated altogether? Develop a plan and present it to your managers. This will show initiative and that you are concerned with the bottom line.

Make it a point to be sure your employer is getting good value with you. Eliminate as much overtime as possible. Show that you can work hard and get your tasks done within the eight-hour day. Help out where needed, answer phones, take orders, help others and work on new projects. What other services can you provide?

• Increase your visibility: Don’t bury your head in your work — it isn’t enough these days. You need to be seen as well as heard. Make yourself known, not just by those who are in your direct working area. Those higher up need to know who you are and the contributions that you make. Do not be shy about your accomplishments and skills. Be your own PR firm.

Showing up early for work, meetings and appointments shows punctuality as well as dedication, but make sure that your thoughts, opinions and great ideas are heard. When attending an industry event be sure to network and share ideas. Upon returning to the office, summarize the event for your department and managers with what you learned and how it can be used in your office.

• Increase your ease: What are you like to be around? Moods are very contagious and positive optimistic people are more pleasant to be with. Understand this isn’t just about smiling and being happy — be the leader in your group. Mentor and encourage those you work with. Be willing to share what you know with others, along with sharing the praise and accomplishments.

Be flexible and dependable. This means doing what is in the best interest of the company. Are you needed to work various hours or in other departments? Volunteer for various projects that others hesitate on and finish projects and reports in a timely manner.

Being successful at your job is not enough in today’s market. You need to work on yourself each and every day. Demonstrate your value constantly, use every opportunity to get visible and seen by the people who make decisions about cuts and be easy to work with. These steps will improve your reputation and, it’s hoped, prevent you from holding your own pink slip.

Laurie-Ann Murabito is the founder of Achievement Perspective, a Pelham-based consulting and business coaching company. She can be reached at 603-765-6145 or