Think about this scenario, repeated hundreds of times every business day: you get the meeting invitation, go see your manager and sitting in the room is another manager or a person from human resources. Maybe you saw it coming or maybe you didn’t, but at this point, you know you are going to get laid off. Then, entirely at management’s discretion, after you get the layoff package and someone gets all of the company assets — Blackberry, laptop, building access keys, etc. — you are graciously walked out the door.
Well, the company got all of their assets. Did you?
When you are responsible for your career, you have assets you need to keep. Things like resumes, performance reviews, letters of recommendation and certification certificates. This makes sense: these items give you information about your results that you can use to continuously build your resume and provide proof of your capabilities.
Where is all this information kept? Too many people keep it on their company computer or in their desks in their cubicle. That place where everything is owned by the company and where everything will be retrieved in a layoff.
It shouldn’t be rocket science to know that you should have all of this stuff off of corporate systems and on to your personal systems — your computer, your desk at home and your filing cabinets in your home office.
But too many people don’t do this. Then they get laid off and suddenly, all that cool information that will help them find their next job is gone, consumed by the company assets and put behind company firewalls.
One of the very first steps you can do to take responsibility for your career is to get your career assets off of company systems and on to your own.
You know, every month I send out a newsletter to those who have signed up for it. And every month, about one hundred of them come back to me with the classic reply: “Out of Office.” I also get about the equivalent bounces in what has been sent out. Which means you signed up for your personal career advice on your company’s asset and not your personal e-mail account on your personal systems.
At the same time, I always get back two to three replies that don’t say “Out of Office,” but instead say in some form of perfect, legal Corporate Speak: “This person is no longer affiliated with XYZ corporation.”
At the very time career advice is most needed, your career assets kept on company systems will take the advice away. I always hope the people associated with those messages are doing well, but don’t doubt that their situation would be easier to deal with if they had all of their career assets in their own systems and not on corporate systems.
Where are your career assets?
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