Take a look at any news source these days and you’ll be smacked in the face with the latest unemployment figures.
They continue to go in the wrong direction (up), making it hard not to get trapped in the general atmosphere of free-floating fear. Pundits throwing out words like “depression” and “apocalypse” don’t help.
But you are only one person. You only need to hold on to one job (or, if you’re a moonlighter, two). Your task then is to be such a rock-solid member of the team, and do such superior work, that you keep that job.
Yes, it’s true that rock-solid, superior employees do get laid off. There’s no such thing as a sure thing. Just keep in mind that 90 percent of people who want to work are still working and that these are still darn decent odds.
So, now is no time to throw in the towel! Now is the time to go back to basics. Specifically, what does it mean to be a rock-solid, superior employee? It means displaying (at least) six qualities:
Composure. When others freak out, you do not join them.
Thoroughness. You carry tasks all the way through to their logical conclusions.
Graciousness. You treat everyone equally well.
Diligence. You take the time to be careful; you make the effort to be accurate.
Astuteness. You anticipate things that will go wrong and always have a contingency plan.
Mastery. You consistently produce high-quality work in a timely fashion.
Do all that and you’ll be a star. Stars survive. One way or another.
Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009 (but available now for pre order at Amazon!). She blogs at karenburnsworkinggirl.com .