Okay, I have a confession to make. I’m still a big Soprano’s fan. So this week’s blog is going to combine the number one question that everyone in business needs to ask themselves with a short homage to my favorite Jersey family. Capiche?
“Whaddya Gonna Do?”
This question is the closest thing to a mantra on the Sopranos. Business turns south, someone goes after an important customer or suddenly the feds are wreaking havoc. Inevitably one of the characters shrugs, grabs a drink and blurts out, whaddya gonna do?
Unlike a certain organized crime family on TV, most of us do have plenty that we can do. But we are so mired in the fog of our jobs that we fail to see it.
Take a lousy boss. Whaddya gonna do? Well you can go boss shopping. Start looking inside and outside your company for a boss that you can trust. Yep, trust. Get creative with using conference rooms for taking calls to potential employers, using fake doctor’s visits to go for interviews and using letters from clients for references. Serve on committees that will increase your visibility, find excuses to meet with potential new bosses (example, by serving on a United Way committee) or just hang out in the executive bathroom until your top executive prospect hears nature’s call.
Take a crummy paycheck. Whaddya gonna do? Ask to meet with your boss to discuss a raise. After they give you a ton of reasons why it won’t happen, smile and ask for specific performance targets you’d need to hit to get a raise. Specific is the key. Find out what it will take, document the conversation then put all of your creativity to work to hit the target. But don’t just play inside your company. Start shopping your resume outside of it. That is the quickest way to getting a bump in pay, because your company will never pay you what you’re worth until you have a firm outside offer from another company. Never.
Take not having enough hours in a day. Whaddya gonna do? For most of us, the key to getting more done isn’t about squeezing more stuff into your already full eight or nine hour day. The key is to ensure that you’re focusing your best efforts into the areas of greatest opportunity for both you and your company. I’m a big believe in the 80-20 rule. I try to always put 80% of my best effort into my most important projects. It’s tough to do because the urgent always has a way of trumping the important, but you’ve got to resist that temptation and keep your eyes on the prize.
Take being scared of being laid off. Whaddya gonna do? People write to me all the time describing a lay off that came out of nowhere. And yes, that can happen. But more often than not there were subtle clues about what was going to happen. The company suddenly started cutting the budget, sending important projects to other departments and transferring the starts to other departments at your company. We all have to be careful about getting too comfortable and keep our eyes on what is next for our industry, our company but most of all ourselves.
Whaddya gonna do? Plenty. Because you don’t have to be stuck with the mob, you can chart your own course of action.
About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist and popular speaker. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via [email protected] .