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Friday, November 07, 2008

Survival Strategies in the Work

Play a hi-lo game. Focus on "the work" versus pay, title and rates (if you are consulting). In my consulting world, I have been an interim VP, Director and recruiter. My strength is organizational change but I do other roles if they are interesting and challenging. This doesn't mean that I don't seek titles and compensation strategically but it is not linear. My career is portable and therefore defies being linear.

Have many different skills. Get deep in as many as you can. It helps that I can be an executive, a mid level manager or just a individual contributor. That I have skills in compensation, organizational assessment and change, recruiting, benefits or strategic planning. I can and have stepped in anywhere. When the job market tightens, I still often find work because I can and am willing to do so many things.

Don't get hung up on offices versus cubes or how important you are. It is more important that you are compelling and that you have people's trust than that you are seen as someone important based on rank and pay.

Don't get sucked into meetings as way of showing status. Meetings are usually just a place to fill time, show your plumage, be seen and wonder why it is running so long. They can be informational and should be used to share basics on what is going on.

It is better to deal with people one on one when trying to make something happen. A hundred one on one meetings are better than a dozen power meetings attended by many people.

Influence is better than power. It takes longer but is more lasting.

If done right influence is power.

Have one year's take home salary in the bank. This is over and above any other investments you might have. No new car, kitchen remodel or status symbol is worth NOT having this. It financially makes you free.

Defocusing on titles, pay, meetings and pay also make you free.

The more I defocus on this sort of stuff the more they come to me anyway.

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