ComPRehension

Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
March 16, 2009

What’s Your Next Career Move?


What’s your next career move? While you may be more focused on “career retention” than “career advancement” right now, I suggest you reconsider. Drastic times call for drastic actions. It might be tempting to lay low or “stay off the boss’ radar” right now, but that is the last thing you should be doing.

In fact, a strategy of “staying off the radar” is likely to backfire and actually make you more of a target for workforce reduction. It’s far more effective to increase your visibility as a valued employee. That way, even if you do lose your job, you’ll be top-of-mind for other opportunities.

This is the time to try things you haven’t done before and take prudent risks. Volunteer for new assignments. If your area is slow — or even if it’s not — offer to help out another department.

Employees who have a wide variety of experiences are most likely to survive the job cuts and thrive in the midst of turmoil. It makes sense — if you have experience in two areas of your company, you’re twice as marketable. One of my clients who worked in the communications department offered to help the IT area of her organization with communications. When people in the communications department were laid off, IT offered her a job!

When my former employer, a large public relations firm, was purchased by another agency, many of my colleagues were really nervous about job cuts and laid low. A leader from our new owner moved into a corner office, right next to mine. I decided to buck the “staying off the radar” trend, marched into his office one day and introduced myself. Turned out he had a quirky sense of humor, much like my own, and appreciated the chance to meet one of his new employees. This led to all kinds of wonderful opportunities in my own career.

enny Schade, president, JRS ConsultingBy Jenny Schade, president, JRS Consulting. JRS Consulting helps organizations dramatically increase attraction among customers and employees. Jenny Schade has interviewed more than 1,000 employees while guiding organizations through turbulent change. Get more tips from the free JRS newsletter.

Join Schade, along with Carolyn Mayo, APR and Ken Makovsky, for their co-presentation, “Accelerate Your Career in Public Relations: Steps You Can Take Now to Prepare for Your Future,” a FREE webinar, on Thursday, April 9, 2009, at 3 p.m. EDT!

  • http://www.susanisk.com Susan Iskiwitch

    I completely agree, Jenny. What’s the point of having a job that is good for not much more than allowing you to say that you’re employed?

    I was complacent at my job (an excellent job for some, it was just my time to go), sticking around for the job security. I recently decided that I will go out on my own until I find another position that really suits me (my last day of salaried employment is this upcoming Friday) in order to focus on my true interest of digital communication.

    Wish me luck!

  • http://www.JRSconsulting.net jschade

    Congratulations on your decision to pursue something about which you’re truly passionate, Susan. Thanks for sharing your good news and I wish you all the best!

  • Kourtney Riffle

    Great post, Jenny. With the current economic status, it’s easy to kick into survival mode and just try to focus on how to maintain our current employment status. But, it’s during these times that we can take proactive steps to not only try to help maintain our jobs, but also lead to opportunities for the future. We can use this time as a stepping stone. And then, we can learn to thrive and not just survive in the workplace.

  • http://www.JRSconsulting.net jschade

    Thanks, Kourtney. I’ll be addressing this topic in the PRSA webinar I’ll be moderating at 3 p.m. EST on April 9. Hope you can join us!