Ten Things You Can Do To Save Your Job... Or Create a New One

By Stephen Shapiro

Although everyone is worried about losing their job, here are 10 big ideas you can do now to


save your job or create a new job.

1. BE LAZY – Most people spend 60% - 75% of their time work on activities that do NOT create value for the business. Don’t! Be lazy and stop doing what you don’t need to do. Rethink all of your work and focus on the important activities. You’ll make yourself more valuable to the company and you will work less.

2. STOP FOCUSING ON GOALS – In down economies, it is natural to focus on – and worry about – the future. However, the more you focus on your goals, the less likely you are to achieve them. For example, studies show that sales reps that focus on making the sale often do worse than people who focus on serving the customer. Do your best job…today.

3. THROW OUT YOUR TO DO LIST – Ok, don’t throw it out, but keep your “to do” list short. We get distracted by too many things to do. Focus is critical. In addition to your to your to do list, create a “could do” list. These are the things you may do in the future when you are done with the current work. Also, create a “don’t do” list – a list of the things you are doing to stop doing.

4. SEEK OUT OVERSEAS OPPORTUNITIES – Given the weak dollar, US products and services are bargains in other countries. Volunteer for an ex-pat job. Take on a sales job overseas. I will be spending more time overseas this year than I had over the previous 6 years combined.

5. ACT LIKE AN OWNER OF THE BUSINESS – If you think like the CEO rather than (fill in your job here), you will think more strategically. You will make smarter business decisions. Instead of just focusing on “what” you do, ask yourself “why” are you doing it. This will certainly impress your boss.

6. THINK LIKE A VEGAS CARD COUNTER – We all fail when we try new things. But the key is to fail cheaply. Become masterful at developing small experiments to test out new ideas and then increase your investments as you learn more. This is what Vegas card counters do. They bet small until they know they have a hot deck. It makes them millions and can do the same for you.

7. USE PERSONAL CONTACT RATHER THAN EMAIL – Deciding who to layoff is often more emotional than logical. Therefore, it is critical that you maintain a personal relationship with fellow employees and bosses. Email is impersonal. Here’s my 30 day challenge:

· Lock your BlackBerry away. Or, if it also serves as your phone, turn off the “data services” so that you can no longer receive email.

· Turn off “automatic send/receive” in Outlook.

· Check your email only 3 times a day. Use an auto-responder to let them know that you are checking email infrequently and that they should call you if it is urgent.

· Use the phone to communicate rather than email. Build relationships.

8.PLAN FOR YOUR PINK SLIP – Assume that you will eventually lose your job or choose to leave. Therefore, be sure to build your resume, build your brand, and build you network of contacts outside of the company. Your career is your responsibility.

9. SOLVE PAINS – During tight economic times, people are more willing to invest in products/services that eliminate pains. Problem solvers are in big demand…always. My speeches on recession proofing businesses are more popular than those focused on innovation.

10. CHARGE MORE – Oscar Wilde once said, “A cynic knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.” People equate value with price. Charge more and you will be valued more. Reducing prices makes you a commodity. Increasing prices makes you a luxury. Luxury items tend to do better in tough economic times.

By Stephen Shapiro (www.steveshapiro.com) business advisor on the topic of innovation and the author of four books including “24/7 Innovation” and “Goal-Free Living.”