In a struggling economy, there are no guarantees when it comes to keeping a job. Employers can and do let workers go for a variety of reasons, not all of which are fair. In this atmosphere, many employees want to play it safe by towing the line to protect their job. However, the safe route may not be the best course of action. Instead of an employee mindset rooted in fear or sticking with the status quo, workers should have a personal branding mindset focused on distinguishing oneself from the crowd. Here are some ways to achieve a personal brand mindset in the workplace.
Be distinct. The instinct for some employees is to blend in and not stand out to avoid getting the boot. However, blending in makes you unremarkable and therefore easier to let go. Instead, stand out from the crowd by letting your skills shine and showing your employer your value to the company. That doesn’t mean you should be annoying or difficult to work with. You still need to get along and work well with your team, but you want to do it in a way that makes you invaluable.
Be authentic. No office is free of drama and angst, but you don’t want to get caught up in office politics. Some employees participate in the cliques, backstabbing and other political moves in hopes of securing their job or advancing a career. However, a worker with a personal brand mindset knows their worth and does their best work to move ahead as opposed to working the system. Especially in today’s volatile work environment in which a manager that was an ally leaves and is replaced with a manager that is an enemy, it’s best to leave office politics out of the equation.
Keep learning. Employees rely on their degree and required continuing education to retain their jobs, but the minimum doesn’t cut it for someone focused on a personal brand mindset. Staying informed of industry trends and trained in job skills not only increases job security, but improves marketability to advance or find a new job if needed. Reading industry journals, attending seminars and taking courses above and beyond the minimum shows commitment to your career and a willingness to add value to the work you do. In essence, your employer gets a better informed and trained worker, for no extra cost.
A personal brand mindset moves your thinking away from protecting your job by trying not to make waves. Instead, it’s a proactive way of projecting your value to your employer so that if cuts are made, there’s no question about your worth.
Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.