Smartest career moves for the year ahead

Excerpt from the Globe and Mail, Globe Careers, Survival / Expert Advice, Friday, January 9, 2009, page B14


Remember the good old days – like just last summer?

Before the economy started its meltdown, employees thought they could confidently set long-term career goals and count on the support of employers who valued them and were convinced that, in a war for talent, they had to nurture and reward people to keep them loyal.

All that seems to have changed in just a few short months. Suddenly, the focus has shifted to survival, with many companies looking to prune costs and putting jobs on the line.

That means career development may be dropping off corporate agendas, career experts warn.

So, employees should be setting their own course to weather the economic storm and set themselves up for success in a recovery, the pros say.

How best to do that? Several career pros were asked to weigh in on the single smartest strategy to employ through the new year for your career. Here are each of their top resolutions to consider.

President, Nina Spencer & Associates, Toronto

Key strategy

Think “Me Inc.”

Why now

Acting like an entrepreneur and taking charge of your own advancement will increase your personal commitment to doing the best job possible – at a time when employers are looking at which employees consistently add value, and which are expenses they could do without.

How to do it

Acting like a partner in the business will see you coming in earlier and leaving later, and actively engaging with colleagues and your boss on what you can do to meet the day’s challenges. Ask yourself on a daily basis: “How is this current task or activity helping my company prosper? How does this current task or activity advance our declared goals, values and overall mandate and serve our clients the best way we can?”

What it can achieve

The entrepreneur’s reality is if you don’t perform, there’s no payback. By treating your employer, every colleague and client as someone who consumes your services and pays your bills, you’ll be seen as providing top value.

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