You may know you’re doing awesome work (and climbing the corporate ladder), but in an ever-shifting job market, that may not be enough. Recently, a few high profile companies like Apple, Twitter, and McDonalds have decided to do away with one position in particular: COOs. Some management consultants say the trend is indicative of the job being superfluous because of technology.
And experts agree the trend of eliminating previously essential jobs doesn’t just affect COO and other top-of-the-ladder types. Technology, smaller revenue margins, and streamlining staffs so each position covers several areas can all lead to positions being cut—even if they are positions filled by good employees.
So how do you make sure you stay in the clear? “There are a few phrases that should make your ears perk up,” says Carol Cochran, Director of Human Resources at Flex Jobs, a telecommuting and flexible job service firm. “An announcement that the company is ‘headed in a new direction’ could mean they’re thinking of consolidating and shifting jobs.” An “organizational restructuring,” especially if it results in some of your duties being stripped, is never a good sign either. And if you’re told you’re no longer required to attend certain meetings or projects that you’re working on have been back burnered, your position may be one that the higher-ups are thinking of eliminating, says Cochran.
But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed. Being proactive—especially before the writing is on the wall—proves that you’re indispensible to the company, and will make your boss fight to keep you. “People need to do away with the idea that a job is “yours,” says Ramon Santillan, founder of Persuasive Interview, a job coaching firm. “Really, the job belongs to the company. Instead of worrying about how to protect ‘your’ job, it’s best to reframe your thoughts so your focus is on delivering the best results to your company.”
To get in that mindset, take a look at your last few projects, suggests Santillan. What did you accomplish? “You should be able to say more than just ‘I finished it.’ You should be able to show, for example, how much money you saved or made for the company, or be able to prove that your work garnered a new client or new interest in the business,” explains Santillan. Getting in the habit of knowing your worth will make it easier to remind your boss of how much you do—and will ensure you’re always pushing yourself.
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Second, Cochran advises to always be on the lookout for ways you can pitch in. “If your boss mentions she wishes the company had a more active social media presence, volunteer to take on the company Twitter handle. If you know your boss is pressured to find clients, do research about ways your company could fit the needs of the community,” suggests Cochran.
Finally, if you are worried your job is in jeopardy, schedule a face to face with your manager. Let them know you’re willing to take on new responsibilities, and, if your company is currently in a time of transition, explain how much you value the company and that you’re happy to be slotted wherever is needed. “If you can prove to your employer that you’re not too proud to shift or adapt with the changing needs of the business, you just might save your job,” says Cochran.