Quit complaining and reinvent yourself

The work world is changing, and you'll have to change with it. There is no more job security. Mourn its passing if you must, but let's get on with the business at hand: reinventing yourself for the future. It isn't an option; forget whether it's fair. You simply must think in new ways if you're going to be employable.

So, you say you don't want to? Don't need to? Maybe feel that you've been loyal and dedicated and your organization owes you some payback.

You’re deluding yourself, like the man who called me on a radio show and complained bitterly about how technology was depersonalizing things. He wailed about how unfair it was that business was throwing people out of jobs and replacing them with technology. When I asked him what he did for a living, he replied: "I'm an elevator operator." (Where has he been for the last 20 years?)

Funny thing is, I hear a lot of "elevator operators" complaining lately. They don't want to face the fact that the world is changing around them and they don't want to change with it.

Permit me to take some well-intentioned pokes at you to get you thinking. If you start feeling defensive as you read any of this, maybe it's because it's too close to home and it's time to change.
Do you know how to do more than turn on your computer? Is your secretary printing hard copies of your e-mail messages? Face reality: You must be computer literate or face extinction. You won't even know what language your own high-tech employees and customers are speaking in five years if you don't get with it now.

Are you still kidding yourself into thinking you have the most important job in the company? Do you surround yourself with equally important titles? You could be dangerously out of touch with the people who hold the real power in your company - the employees who are making and breaking customer relationships every day.

Are you a manage-by-the-numbers kind of CEO? Do you still believe that the corporate culture manage itself, or worse, doesn't really effect the bottom line? Your employees are hoping you wake up to the new reality before it's too late.

Hello in there! I see you hiding in your departments, hoping the downsizing ax misses you. What are you doing about it? You can't hide forever.

Are you still "managing" your employees? Forget it. They don't want to be managed. The want to be informed about where the business is going, how the business is doing, and how they can make a difference. They want to learn new skills and work on real business problems. They want a leader who teaches and guides, not one who commands and controls.

Do you still protect your turf and point the finger of blame at peer departments? Where have you been? The name of the game today is partnership and collaboration to serve the whole organization for the good of the customers. Get with it.

Middle managers are becoming an endangered species because they no longer add value in their old role. So find ways to create your own job security by adding value and applying new leadership skills. Bring employee groups together to solve pressing problems; cross department lines to help fellow managers solve customer concerns; become a leader people want to work for because they grow and are treated with respect.

Nobody owes you a job. Face it. You will only stay employable if you have skills that are up to date and affordable. You can't hide behind a job description or a union contract. The reality is that, within 15 years, only half of you will be in full-time traditional jobs. Manpower Inc. is now the largest employer in the world. It's very likely in the future that you could be a contract employee, leased, freelancing, consulting or in any number of other arrangements.

What are you doing about it? Demanding more job security and more pay (you don't get it) or learning new skills and adding value on your job?

The only way you are going to have any "job security" is if you create it for yourself. The best way to do that is to be better than any freelancer who wants your job.

Are you feeling a little nervous? A little guilty? Is it enough to make you do something about it? I hope so. Your future depends on it.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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