When you put your nose to the grindstone, …you grind your nose. Will nose grinding increase your job security? No. Will corporations prefer nose grinders during periods of downsizing? Not necessarily.  So what good is nose grinding?

Well, for one thing, it does help to keep you competitive for your particular job. For another, you will have more pleasant job appraisal meetings. For another, it may help to position your for promotions. But it will not guarantee or improve your job security if your job, and by extension, you, too, have been declared redundant before you have implemented the action steps outlined below.

Quite a few nose grinders have contacted me AFTER their jobs were declared redundant, “I don’t understand…I kept my nose to the grindstone. What more did the company want of me? And why didn’t they tell me ahead of time?” Let’s clear up some key points. First, if you were a good, solid, hard worker, it likely is not your work. If the job is declared redundant, truly redundant and not merely a work-around the law, then it is likely because a bigger change is taking place and your company needed to re-align the business structure itself. You won’t be able to stop a corporation from declaring various jobs “redundant” for, that is how corporations can streamline and become more competitive. So, it may not be personal. It may not be you, or your work, per se. Companies always want and appreciate hard workers…those “nose grinders” who produce great results.

So, nose grinding is indeed great…up to the point that your job is declared redundant and the job itself evaporates.At that point it is often too late for corrective action on your part and you simply evaporate along with the job that is being phased out. What can you do to protect yourself PRIOR to your job being declared redundant?

Signs to look for:

  • The JOB is 5 years old, or older. The older the job the more likely it is outdated and will need to be revised, changed, or eliminated. Coincidently, longer-term employees are often settled in those “older” jobs.  So, keep an eye on the “biological” clock of the job…and your own biological clock.  My perception is that there is an increasing coincidence of employees aged 52-59 in those jobs being declared redundant. [Is this my perception because of those directly contacting me for job toolkit help? Or, are you seeing that as well? Drop me a comment using our contact form.]
  • Problems with the business model.
  • A new manager who wants to prove him-, or herself by changing the structure.
  • A change in leadership where the new guy knows less than the entrenched players. The new guy always wins.
  • New technology creeps into the marektplace and your job is built on old technology.
  • Competitive landscape has recently changed or regulations have some sort of new impact.
  • Redundancy of leaders–too many at the top doing very similar things.

How to best protect yourself:

  1. it’s who you know.
  2. circulate outside of your department
  3. diversify your skill set—don’t take just courses that help you to grind your nose harder
  4. build a stronger network among higher level managers…but be sure they like you. Yes, this may mean you will need to rub shoulders much more with the management as well as more of your colleagues and teammates.
  5. avoid conflicts with your supervisors–don’t give them reasons to dislike you or to feel uncomfortable in your presence
  6. make upper-level managers look good, even if it means foregoing getting the credit yourself for your great ideas. The value is never in the idea itself. Ideas are plentiful and easy. It’s always the implementation that is difficult. Let them have your ideas. It may create a place for you when the time comes to implement.
  7. even if you supervisors or leaders are morons don’t embarrass them in public, in front of other employees. You may win the “battle” but your supervisor will paint a giant target on your back.
  8. participate like crazy on organizational functions, activities
  9. build a network outside of your company. It’s fine to be in the municipal theatre group, it is better to become chairperson of United Way and better yet to hold higher-level positions on associations relevant to your particular product line and to your company.
  10. invent something for your company. Improve a process of significance. Bring in good ideas. And do any or all of these things frequently.

READERS: Send me your thoughts…help your friends out there. If you have any added ways to make yourself more valuable to protect against being a victim of layoffs or redundancies, send me your comments and suggestions using any of our contact forms. Thanks for helping me to help those who are job jeopardy.

[Note: send me more ideas and also read our nugget, “28 Ways To Make Yourself Valuable…”]