Have you ever had a job where you knocked yourself out for the company, putting in a lot of unpaid effort, only to be caught in a subsequent layoff round because your pay level was higher than the employees they kept? If so, you know that company loyalty isn’t always a two-way street.
Company Loyalty as a One-Way Street
Most, if not all, companies expect you to put in considerable effort on their behalf, respect their confidential information, protect their reputation, etc., in return for your regular paycheck. And sometimes the return they receive from you is disproportionately larger than the value of your check.
That’s part of the one-way-street picture. The other part is that too many companies consider employees expendable, a disposable resource if things start getting a little tight. It’s true that sometimes companies don’t have a choice about layoffs and other difficult actions, but that’s certainly not always the case.
Best Companies to Work For
Every year Fortune compiles its “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. While you could argue about some of their choices, based on your personal experience or on information you’ve gained from sources you respect, it’s worthwhile to take a look at the list.
Along with that, Fortune separately breaks out a list of 24 companies that are hiring. Purportedly those companies each expect to hire 1,000 people or more in the coming year.
Again, this is subject to change and to a certain degree of personal interpretation (possibly skewed one direction or another), but worth looking at when you’re planning your next career move.
Company Loyalty as a Two-Way Street
Large, small or somewhere in between, you can probably find a number of companies that respect and value their employees, provide them with a positive work environment, encourage them to grow professionally and don’t take unfair advantage of them “just because they can.”
That’s not to say your search will be easy or that you won’t hit a few bumps in the road along the way. However, I believe it’s essential to start your job search with both a positive attitude and a determination not to settle for less than the best in your employer–for as long as you can.
You will, after all, probably have to live with your choice for a while.
P.S. You might have noticed that my blog posts have been pretty sporadic lately. They’re about to get even more so, because I’m preparing for a long-awaited (and, I believe, well-deserved) vacation from work. I will be away from the computer at least from May 26 through June 9, but I’ll be thinking of you…not :).
Communication. What a vague and potentially meaningless term! Note that this doesn’t mean it’s unimportant–far from it.
Communication comes in two forms, broadly described as written and oral (spoken). For greater success in landing a new position and doing well afterward, you need to have strong skills in both areas.
6 Tips for Effective Communication
Whether in a job search or after you’ve been hired, you need to ensure that what you put in writing reflects not only solid knowledge in your area of expertise but also the ability to communicate critical points clearly to the intended audience. If your purpose includes persuading people to adopt a certain point of view or to take a specific action, your written communications need to present a compelling reason for readers to do that.
3 Tips for Good Written Communication:
- Get to the point. Don’t ramble on and put your readers to sleep.
- Avoid ambiguity. Determine your intent, focus on it and then double-check to make sure you’ve expressed it clearly.
- Know your audience. Use wording and concepts that will speak strongly to them. Otherwise, you risk losing their attention.
3 Tips for Good Oral Communication:
Actually, the previously listed tips for written communication are good here as well! However, here are some that are specific to oral (spoken) communication:
- Watch for body language in your listener that tells you they’re tuning out.
- Maintain a moderate pace as you speak. Remember that people can listen faster than you can (or should) talk, but avoid the temptation to talk too quickly.
- Make sure your voice quality (tone, volume, pacing, etc.) is as “listenable” as possible. Have someone else listen to you speak if you’re not sure how you come across.
Communication Before the Hire vs. On the Job
Before you’re hired, your main concern probably is to convince the company that it should hire you rather than one of your competitors. You’ll be looking at every aspect you can reasonably include that will help you achieve that goal. This includes both written and oral communication methods. Among other things, you’ll want to emphasize the value you can bring to the company in the open position.
On the other hand, once you actually land the job, your focus shifts. Now you need to look at convincing the company that it made a wise decision by hiring you. What you say/write and how you do that will play a big part in the way you are viewed by your boss, his/her boss, your subordinates (if any), colleagues–everyone inside the company that has anything to do with you.
The same obviously applies to your external communications–with customers, vendors, regulatory authorities, whoever you have contact with as part of your job. They could be your valuable supporters or your detractors, depending on how you handle communications with them.
In other words, it’s still about value, but now it’s time to, as the saying goes, “put up or shut up.” In short, don’t just say or write it–prove it.
Final Communication Tip
If you lack confidence at all in your ability to communicate well before the hire or on the job, do something about it! Get help if necessary to identify your most critical “needs improvement” areas (written or oral) and take appropriate action to correct them ASAP. The last thing you want is to have weaknesses in this area hold back your professional growth and career success or to sabotage the new job you worked so hard to capture.