Fireproof Your Career

In 2008, a movie titled “Fireproof” was the highest grossing independent film of the year. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and to the naysayers’ dismay, raked in $33 million! The plot revolves around a married couple who has their share of issues and is seeking divorce. They realize their relationship needs to be fireproof in order to survive, meaning the union cannot easily be destroyed.

It is amazing to me that sometimes we miss great opportunities to keep our careers in tact by making minor adjustments that have significant impacts. There are external events that are out of our control, such as displacements, layoffs, facility closings, etc. On the other hand, there are things that are well within our control. We make decisions daily, and deciding to fireproof your career is no different. The question is whether or not you want to and are willing to do what it takes.

In order to fireproof your career, you must:

Be a leader: This means understanding the bigger picture and allowing your greater self to emerge. Perhaps being vocal about business improvements is a place to start, being mindful of the right place and time to introduce suggestions.

Also, keep in mind that thinking not just about yourself and your position, but about the overall goals of the organization is a leadership skill. Leaders help others, whether that is your peer or your supervisor, a true leader has a global perspective.

Be positive: Don’t complain about the state of the economy, rising gas prices, the company, or your co-workers–focus on the positive. Be optimistic about the organization, and focus on steps you can take to have a positive impact on its future. Steering clear of gossip and negative people will allow you to remain positive over time.

Reduce costs: Saving your company money will show others that you understand profitability and this alone will give you a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Be a team player: This skill will never go out of style. Everyone is a part of a larger team, so the way you function with others determines whether or not you are ready for the next level in your career. Is relationship building a strength for you? Do you communicate effectively? On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, how would you rate yourself in terms of collaboration?

If you have made the choice to fireproof your career, there are countless additional things you can do. Temporarily or inconsistently doing anything will never yield exemplary results. In other words, fireproofing your career is something that you must constantly strive to do. In the face of layoffs, displacements, and the like, employee retention is typically discussed. Leaders within organizations who make retention decisions don’t keep average employees when displacements are in order. Why? Simply put, average employees produce average results. Great corporations didn’t surpass their competitors by being average, and you as an employee can’t afford to be average. Fireproof your career, and I promise you will not regret it.