5 permissions to up your game while employed

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Jason Alba of JibberJobber has a wealth of career advice – and a free/paid app that helps people work their careers to boot. In this post, I’m going to riff off of some pretty important points Jason made as part of a larger post called The Writing on the Wall: when you are about to lose your job. At the bottom of the post, he offers up some incredibly valuable advice about getting and maintaining control over your career. Things to do to gain employment security because job security doesn’t exist. Here’s Jason’s five permissions:

1. I give you permission to network, even while you are employed

Business networking is about knowing other people in other companies and helping them succeed in their work and life. What happens is we think we should be networking after we have lost our jobs when the real time to be networking is right now.

Why? Because with a job you are in the best position to help other people with their needs, building up the relationship with the other person. They may need help now on some thing, but it’s important to help them because some day, you’ll be needing help for your own situation whether it is because of losing your job to layoff or for some other type of career help.

2. I give you permission to have an updated resume, even though you are happy at your job.

Why update your resume now? Because now is when you are closest to the facts, trials, successes, and documented business results from your work. Do you think you’ll remember that you migrated 4,352 users to a new application two years from now?


But you update your resume today because more information is better to have now so you can tailor your resume to what you need later.

3. I give you permission to interview at other companies, even though you aren’t necessarily looking.

I had a co-worker who had an objective of getting a job offer from another company at least once a year. You might call that extravagant or know that it couldn’t work in your smaller town (this was in Chicago-land), but the approach has merit.


  • He found out what was hot or not in his job market based on interest in his work – including his own pay and benefits.
  • It allowed him to practice doing the entire job search and job interview process — because we suck at doing interviews. We do them so infrequently, we lose whatever skill we had had doing interviews.

Thus, getting laid off held no fear for him. He knew he could get a job because he got a new job offer every single year.

And, oh-by-the-way, he eventually left the company because one of those job offers was finally too much in too favorable situation to turn down. Sweet, because he wasn’t really looking.

4. I give you permission to take control of your career back from those you gave it to

This is Cubicle Warrior stuff, this one. When we finally get a position we like with a company we like and a manager who is good on top of it, we very quietly — even subconsciously — transfer control of our career to the company and manager.

Often, when we find a new job we’re so relieved to have one — getting rid of being laid off or away from that awful manager or getting out before the buy out of the company happened — we just naturally transfer our future out of our hands.

A good example is my current situation where I was happy to join a new company, escaping a buy out of my previous company and the associated layoffs (proactive!!), having a great manager and great work. And then my manager changed positions. There was a reorg in a different, but related department. No new manager yet. Raises all sorts of flags, doesn’t it?

Every job has an ending. So always have control over your career; never hand that control over to someone else.

5. I give you permission to actually enjoy this a little bit

Too often, we don’t think about ourselves enough in a job situation. And it’s a fine line between thinking only of yourself (and turning into an asshole) and supporting the team.

And the further I go along in this career pundit thing, the more I begin to just see the game in all of this. Make no mistake — a game that directly impacts my happiness and financial well-being — but it is interesting to see what corporations try and do to both make us loyal subjects while offering no guarantees about anything. There is a reason it is called “employment at will.”

Isn’t this great advice?

There are simply too many people who still believe that their company or their manager will take care of their position, career, and well being on the job.

It’s not true. The company cares about the work you deliver to meet their corporate goals, not about you. No matter what is said, at the end if your manager is told to lay you off you’ll be gone in a New York minute. Wouldn’t you want to be ready for that moment?

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