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Every Job is a Temp Job

That’s right, more than ever—to one degree or another—all jobs can be said to be temporJobs signary.  Gone are the days of having a career with one company and retiring with a pension.  If you work for someone else (like approximately 90% of American workers), you should be prepared for the possibility that your job could end at any time.

Before you reach for the anti-depressants, here’s how you can take all of this in stride:

Don’t just do your best—keep track of it!  Doing your best may or may not enable you to keep a job that’s headed for the chopping block but—if it doesn’t help to retain your position—it could certainly position you for your next position.  Keep samples of your best work, keep your resume up to date, and keep building your professional social network, on- and off-line.

Whether you have a job or not, don’t take it personally—ever. The longevity of your current position can easily depend on economic realities and factors far bigger in scope than your performance.  If you find yourself out of a job and economic issues were the cause, there’s probably nothing you could have done.  Your performance may have been irrelevant in the decision, but a recommendation from your former boss bringing to light your stellar performance and the changed company circumstances won’t be.  Even A-players lose their job sometimes.

Be flexible in your thinking & how you present yourself. If your skills are in demand, skip this section and go out there and work it, but for those of you wanting or needing to retool your resume for the emerging job market, keep these two seemingly paradoxical realities in mind:

  • Focus your job search: In a job market in which 100 people with experience apply for a marketing position, what are the chances that a person with little or no marketing experience will get called for an interview?  Slim, right?  So unless you’ve got a soul need to break with what you’ve done in the past, your energy may be best spent applying for positions that align seamlessly with your work history—especially in a down job market.
  • Think big: By the same token, so much is in your connections, how you spin your work history, & how bold you’re willing to be.  So what if a certain duty was a minor role you played in the past…can you stay open to the possibility that you could leverage it into being the cornerstone of a new career?  Note: taking this tack can be more labor-intensive but well worth it if it lands you your dream job!  This strategy might work for you if you’re willing to ask everyone you know “Do you know someone who works at xyz company (or in xyz field)?” followed by “Would you be willing to introduce me to your contact?”.  If you can do this, you might have a chance at scoring a job even in a field in which you have no experience.  If you can make some kind of personal connection within the company to get your foot in the door and if you revamp your resume to translate your work history so your skills appear easily transferable, then you have a real opportunity to convey how your work history perfectly positions you for the job you want.

Always have an alternative in mind. Even if you have a job offer in your hot little hands and are scheduled to start tomorrow, anything can change and often does.  Even if you’re sitting pretty in a position you’ve held for years, don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re immune to the vagaries of the job market.  Four words for the new job market: Have a back-up plan.