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Who Else Wants “The Apprentice” Job Survival Kit?

January 12, 2012

myJoblinxThe Apprentice is my one of my favorite reality shows and I’m very excited to hear that they just announced a cast of celebrities for the upcoming series.  It’s one of my guilty pleases on TV.  Every week contestants compete against each other for a chance of obtaining a job at Trump Industries.  They must work together each week in order to complete an assignment.  The team that loses the assignment must defend their arguments and strategies during the boardroom session.

For me, I find the dynamics of this show intriguing and the show represents a microcosm of a real work environment in which I have front row seat.  The show provides a good lesson about working with co-workers and different personalities.  Each of us has a unique work style and we all handle situations differently, which often causes friction.  The work environment is realm of daily engaged social interactions where you come into contact with other coworkers and are forced to work together towards a common goal.  As I watch these weekly episodes, it never ceases to amaze me how many contestants or celebrities on the show are caught off guard in the boardroom when they hear Donald Trump’s signature phrase “You’re fired”.

In today’s tough economy, companies are faced with the difficult task of doing much more with a lot less and even layoff a percentage of their workforce during a slowdown which may catch employees by surprise.  These could be stressful times for many but it’s not time to duck and hide.  Prevention is key in keeping your job before or even during any type of downsizing.

Even if you are not in your dream job, here 5 job survival insights on what you can do to manage your career and avoid being surprised during a downturn:

  • Insight #1:  Stay professional.  Even if you are looking for other employment elsewhere.  Arrive on time, work all your scheduled hours and avoid unexcused absences whenever possible.  Try to be more visible.  It doesn’t mean to “cozying up to the boss”.  Seek opportunities to contribute to meaningful initiatives or projects that can impact and improve the business.
  • Insight #2:  Improve your image as a ‘team player’.  Support your co-workers when you can and only take credit for the work you do.  While you do not have to spend every minute hanging out with your co-workers, building work relationships in the workplace may help make you indispensable.  It also lets you support your co-workers when they need help and get help from them when you are in need.
  • Insight #3:  Set goals for yourself and meet them.  Once you start meeting your goals consistently, update your manager what they are (they may have forgotten) and when you accomplish them.  This shows you are thinking independently and working to your full potential, which may increase your advancement opportunities.
  • Insight #4:  Keep your skills current.  Take advantage of your company’s tuition reimbursement programs and further your education.  Invest in your future, even if it simply means reading more books to add depth to your industry knowledge.  Check out your local community colleges, they are a great resource for adult classes or a certificate in a specialized field.
  • Insight #5:  Don’t wait until it is absolutely necessary to leverage your network for help.  The day you lose your job due to downsizing is not the day you start calling former colleagues and former managers you’ve worked with.  The sooner you start creating your professional network.  Keep your eyes open for networking opportunities and leverage social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

These job survival insights are strategies for anyone currently employed – whether facing potential layoffs or not – to maximize opportunities during these precarious economic times.

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