Cell phones let us talk anywhere, mp3 players allow people to travel with every song they own, and commuter trains offer wi-fi to access the internet while we are on the move. How portable are you with your career?
People rarely work at one company for 30 years like previous generations. Downsizing, mergers, and acquisitions have displaced many workers. Projects are temporary by nature and consultants have opportunities to work with many organizations (internal and external). Some people see their talent as being up for sale to the highest bidder with no loyalty to a company.
It has now gotten to the point where we need to build our career outside of the organization we currently work for.
I am not suggesting random job hopping, but set yourself up to be able to change organizations quickly. A change could either be forced on you by the organization or due to your own choice.
1) Keep your personal cell phone – Besides potential ethical issues using a work cell phone for primary personal calls, it is practical to do this to allow friends, family, and associates to maintain contact with you through an organizational change.
2) Pay your own association fees – If your organization pays your association fees, there may be challenges when you leave but still want to participate. I am sure there are some exceptions but make sure you understand what you are agreeing to when allowing them to pay.
3) Keep your resume current – Don’t wait to update your resume for when you need it, because then it may be too late. I recently went through divestiture stress and it was empowering to know my resume was already looking good and circulating.
4) Build a network - Begin to collect contact information from people you currently enjoy working with internally and externally and store it away from your work items. I personally use LinkedIn to keep only the people I have worked with or know very well. You can help your network by being a reference for them or they can do the same for you.
5) Build external reputation and brand – Begin to network and contribute within your industry so you can build a professional reputation. This will help you find a new job if you ever need to change organizations. Three great articles related to branding:
- Susan Sabo Brand Yourself Like Apple
- Shawn T. Futterer, PMP posted Creating Name Recognition using Social Networks
- Dustin Wax Build Your Platform: How to Show You’re the Right Person for Any Job
When you make yourself portable, it empowers you to control your career and not give that power to your current organization.