Take Charge Thursday: Keeping Your Job

By: Ryan Famuliner Email
By: Ryan Famuliner Email

It's Take Charge Thursday, and this week we're talking about things you can do to keep the job you have.

While lay-offs are inevitable at many companies these days, experts say there are things you can do to survive the cuts.

We heard advice from retired executives Wednesday, so today we talked to some of the people closest to the current job situation: Those who have already been laid off, and others that are helping people look for jobs!

They say to stay in your job; you need to make sure you're taking the right approach.

At the support group People Between Jobs (PBJ) in Elkhart, unemployed people learn from each other's experiences at their regular meetings.

Meantime, they say people who still have their jobs, can learn from their experiences, too.

“As the companies go to downsize or consolidate, they really have to make some tough decisions and it really can become a very formal process,” said Eric Huggins, an organizer of PBJ.

“It's an equation, and sometimes it’s an easy equation. It's how much effort is put in for this person to stay, versus whether they deliver,” said Greg Wilkerson, a former company president who now attends PBJ.

So how can you make sure you're delivering, more than others?

They say it's important to show you're versatile, and willing to adapt.

But they say an important step that might ultimately save your job, is to pad your resume by getting extra training, or a professional certification.

“Some official recognition of your experience and training is what you're really looking for… If you’re looking to hold on to somebody and you’ve got two people with the same backgrounds and experience; one of them certified and one of them is not, it becomes an obvious discussion,” Huggins said.

Over at Express Employment Professionals, a job search company in South Bend, they say seniority is not what it used to be. Long-time employees are having to turn to them for help after losing their jobs.

“Where seniority can work against you is if you’ve gotten so comfortable in your job that you are not bendable, that you will not flex with the company. When the company might need you to do something that typically you've not done before, and you say that's not my job, I’ve never done that before, I don’t know how to do that” said Norm Robertson, the President of Express Employment.

Robertson says that's the wrong answer. Instead, you should ask them to train you in this new position, and embrace the change, because it's much better than the alternative.

“It's easy to get caught up in that, ‘I’m entitled to this job,’ and that entitlement piece is so far from the truth. I’ve seen people from all levels who have lost their positions over the past six, seven months. There is no guarantee on your position out there, so do everything you can to protect it,” Robertson said.

They say ultimately what it comes down to is putting yourself in the employer's shoes.

They're not any happier about the lay-offs and consolidations than the employees, but they have to find ways to do more with less, and you have to find ways to help them do that.

Meanwhile, all the experts we talked to for these reports said you shouldn't be afraid to talk to your boss. They say you should tell them you want to continue working there, and find out what you'll have to do to accomplish that.

Meantime, if you're interested in visiting any of the job loss support groups in our area, here is an update list of their regular meeting times:

PBJ meets at the Elkhart 1st Presbyterian Church at 8:00am every Monday.
PBJ-II meets at the Bristol 1st United Methodist Church at 8:00am every Tuesday.
Job Seekers meets at the Granger St. Pious Catholic Church at 7:00pm every Wednesday.
Michiana Career Network meets at the South Bend Clay United Methodist Church at 12:30pm every Friday.

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