Ask James Caan – January 4th 2012 – Issue 77
I hope you all had a great break over the festive period, and have recharged your batteries for the challenges 2012 will present.
The New Year for many will signal a new start. Whether that’s growing your business in difficult trading conditions or searching for a new job – you must conduct a review of last year’s activity and find areas to improve upon.
I was pleased to receive a letter from Jill, an IT technician, who, despite concerns over job security in her department, is keeping an eye on the bigger prize.
‘I’ve decided that 2012 will be my year to really shine at work. I’ve been working for the past 18 months in an IT role, helping with software and hardware issues; liaising with different departments and helping with the ordering of stock whilst trying to identify ways to save money’.
‘I’ve heard that my team leader may be leaving soon – not for a few months – but there’s a chance his role maybe going, in which I’d like to be considered for it. My only problem is other people have been made redundant (in other departments), so should I be gunning for a promotion whilst there is worry about job cuts?’
Jill, I appreciate your concern – the threat of redundancy is a terrible thing for all those affected, however, you are absolutely right to plan ahead and think long term.
The sad reality is it’s still a survival of the fittest culture out there and if you spend too much time worried about what others are doing, you could potentially jeopardise your career prospects.
Use 2012 as your platform to shine – to learn new skills, embrace new challenges and achieve what it is you really want from your job.
Let’s assume that despite hearing your line manager is leaving, there’s nothing set in stone as of yet, so how can you work the situation to your advantage?
I’d start by really raising your profile with the aim of positioning yourself as a natural successor. I’ve said it before to others in a similar situation. If you want to be taken seriously for a promotion, you need to exercise new thinking. For example, turning up early or staying past 5:30pm are great examples of a hard worker, but they’re not a platform for a promotion.
As I’m sure you will know, today’s businesses have had to realign their focus – they’re looking for ways to put in place much slicker, streamlined processes that add considerable value. And this is where you could come in!
Of course you need to raise your profile – whether that’s offering to lead a new project or provide lunchtime workshops to more junior members of the team, but if you can also focus on helping the bosses to realise and achieve cost-reduction initiatives you should be well on your way to gaining recognition.
In past appraisals, have you mentioned to your manager that you are interested in career progression? Arrange a meeting to discuss where they see your role progressing and what they’d be looking from you to grow.
In cases like this it’s often a great idea to conduct an MOT on your skill set. What areas of your remit do you think need improving? You are obviously a passionate and career-driven person; however, could you update your knowledge of technologies? Or perhaps your presentation skills could do with a clean up?
I hope I’ve given you some ideas to think about, and wish you every success.
Before I sign off, I’d like to share with you my latest initiative with The Sun, offering the chance to win a personal mentoring session with myself, Tim Campbell or Simon Dolan.
We’re calling for entries all of this week, candidates need to simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more details, view here: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/sunemployment/4015716/Win-a-personal-mentoring-session.html