After a wonderful 18-year run as a columnist, this is the last Workplace 911. Which reminds me of the response that I got from my high school English teacher when I asked her to write a blurb for my first book: "Bob was the least likely author in the Boonton High School (N.J.) class that I taught. If your publishing house is that desperate to find authors, I'd be glad to introduce you to the other 29 students."
With that kind of love and support, how can I be anything but grateful for my almost two-decade run as a columnist, author and speaker? But before I depart, I'd like to offer one last set of survival strategies that I learned in the course of writing this column.
-- Keep open to possibilities. As many of us learned the hard way during the recent recession, there isn't a lot of loyalty out there. "Last hired, first fired" no longer applies; this time people who had long tenure with companies were suddenly let go. I can't tell you how many emails I got where people said they never saw it coming. That's why it's so important to work hard for your current employer, but don't ever stop strategizing your "plan B." Keep your network current, always entertain any job possibility and don't ever pass on the chance to cozy up to a competitor.
-- Seek out silver linings. When I was just a guy with a few columns written and no journalism experience, the first paper I approached didn't offer me the full-time gig that I wanted. But they did tell me that they would let me sell my content to anyone else who would pay for it. I was initially crushed. But I took it as a challenge and I quickly sold it to four other newspapers and eventually to an international syndicate. As it turns out, not hiring me full-time was the best thing that they could have done for me.
-- Comfort zones are overrated. I understand why people have comfort zones, but I've learned the importance of creating new ones. For example, right now I'm working on a bunch of projects for which I'm not qualified. Really. But don't worry, I'll figure them out. I always do. And I'll take great pride in my new areas of expertise. You should, too.
-- Satisfy yourself. When my column was dropped by my syndicate, I didn't get a phone call or a "thank you" after 18 years, just a curt email message. I was annoyed for approximately five minutes. That's how long it took me to remember what a distinct honor it was to have had this platform since the mid 1990s. It wasn't about being dissed; it was about all the people that I had the privilege to speak to for all these years.
Like that English teacher, there will always be many people out there who are ready to tell you everything you can't do. Don't listen to them.
THE LAST WORDS FROM WORKPLACE 911, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
-- Keep open to possibilities.
-- Seek out silver linings.
-- Comfort zones are overrated.
-- Satisfy yourself.
STAT OF THE WEEK
-- 70 percent of workers are not engaged.
Just think of the competitive advantage that you can get if you have more engaged workers. This is not rocket science.
"In my opinion, I wouldn't want to work for me." -- Bob Rosner (This is a quote that appears all over the Internet. I did say it, but I was actually quoting someone who had written to me.)
(Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best-seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.)