Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is your employer getting cocky?

These are a few examples of what I’m seeing in today’s uncertain economic climate:

• Increasing health insurance premiums
     o Corporate byline: We may not be paying as much as we used to, but at least we’re still providing health insurance.
• Business trips extending through weekends infringing on employee personal time
     o Corporate byline: We expect you to be living and breathing our business. If you don’t like it- maybe you should be looking elsewhere.

It seems like some businesses are just daring employees to take action. But in this climate of unprecedented unemployment- the threat is just that, a dare. They know they have you. Job seekers and employers alike know what the job market looks like and they expect you to be grateful for the position you have no matter how much grief it gives you.

There is nothing like feeling like you are trapped in a black hole of despair, with no hope, no alternative. But, there are things you can do to help pull yourself out of that hole. If you feel like you are in a less than desirable work situation here are some steps to take:
Keep your resume updated at all times. Even when you are in a good work situation, you should always have your resume updated. By writing down your new skills and accomplishments it helps you to document your growth and is even more important when you are ready to pull the trigger for posting your resume to career sites.
Research the facts. Your insurance premiums just skyrocketed? Do you have other options such as your spouse’s place of employment? Open enrollment windows vary, so don’t overlook those important updates from human resources when they come through.
Take a deep look at what you want out of your career. Are you looking for something that pays the bills, but do you secretly want to start a side business that highlights your true passion in life? Penelope Trunk, founder and chief executive of Brazen Careerist suggests to “Look for something that’s the intersection of what’s interesting and what you can get paid for”. There is no question that you have to pay your bills. But if you’re using your spare time effectively to pursue other passions in life you never know when you’re going to hit gold.
Volunteer. By dabbling in a field that you think you might want to enter you might be able to gain experience without the pressure of a drastic career shift.

First and foremost, reflect on your individual situation. Everyone has their own personal risk tolerance level for career reinvention. Maybe there are some small changes you could make without even leaving your current place of employment, like having an honest conversation with your manager. Not a bad first step to take.


  1. Eileen, great posting... I always enjoy your writing skills!

  2. Hi Eileen - Love this's Jill B. I completely agree with your points. Employers are just piling on more and more work with less people to do it. When discussions about workload come up, the response is "You should be lucky you have a job." How come I don't feel that lucky??? I am doing the job of 4 people!

  3. Thanks so much for your feedback Jill. It's a really sad state of affairs. I've never found fear to be a good motivator. Just remember there is only so much you can do each day and surround yourself with positive people to lift your spirits when you are feeling down.

    So glad you are following the blog!