Take pride in a back-up job

Let’s admit it. However much we love the organisations we work for there are times when we feel the organisation does not love us as much as we do. Here, the organisation refers to HR, the leadership, the promoters or just our immediate bosses. When boredom or change of city are not reasons, the most important factors that lead to one looking out are either the need to get away from a bad boss or the need to earn more money.

In most instances most employed professionals think that their jobs are safe as long as they are performing well and there are no red flags but the recent suspension of operations at Jet Airways or similar such incidents have led to a lot of individuals and through them their families being left high and dry. With this background I tweeted a few days ago that it is imperative for every employed professional to think of a back-up job. One easy way is to have a business idea. But not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur and the early years are not easy. A new venture can take anything from three months to three years or longer to reach a comfortable position. So, what do those who are not keen on starting out on their own do? They have a Plan B in place and this is how it could roll:

  1. It’s about honing an extra skill – Most people in PR majored in a subject other than PR during graduation. That is a good space to be in because one can always fall back on a career in that field. For example I am a law graduate. I can always get into a legal career if I were to have no options left in the world of Public Relations. I have a friend who has mastered German. She can always become a German teacher if her PR career ends.
  2. Having an anchor or sponsor – This is key. At all times have that one person either leading a PR firm or practice or is a corporate communications leader who will grab you with open arms should a job loss calamity ever hit you. Sharing my own example, I always had a back up job from the time I started my career. I knew there was a place I could go to and get my salary matched. This is not to say a vacancy is kept for you but one will always create a role if the candidate is worthy enough.
  3. Being seen, heard and read – This is important today more than ever before. What does it take to speak at one event annually, write a blog or column once a month and be seen as a thought leader on social media. It takes nothing other than some effort. Every professional whether at the entry level or senior level can and must aim to do this.
  4. Creating a simple aura – This comes from doing some of the above but from attending one event every quarter and engaging meaningfully. The meaningful engagement with the right set of people is important. I have been offered a job atleast once every year in the last five years that I have been employed just because of an idea I shared or a discussion I brought in a unique intervention into.
  5. Getting an offer you refuse – Once every couple of years it does not hurt to go to a job interview to understand your worth, keep your CV updated and go through one round of negotiation assuming you make the cut in order to keep a job like that as your back-up job. This needs to be done in a subtle way in order to avoid burning bridges.
  6. Mastering indispensability – No one is indispensable. Despite that there are people who come to become highly reliable and bosses cannot thrive without them. Be that one. So, when the boss moves, she or he takes you along when the first opening emerges. There are umpteen examples of that.
  7. Offering something unique – Besides choosing to constantly upgrade and learn, if there is something unique that you bring to the table in the form of a speech writing skill or an animation skill there will be that back-up job waiting for you. All you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open.
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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

1 Comment on "Take pride in a back-up job"

  1. शानदार विश्लेहषण
    यही वजह है कि हमेशा बड़े जहाजों पर छोटे-छोटे नाव रखे होते हैं, ताकि आपातकालीन स्थिति में यह काम आ सके.

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