Love your job?

Put an exit plan in place any­ways

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

WHEN you hate your job, you of­ten think about leav­ing it. But when you are happy with your work putting an exit plan into place seems some­what bizarre. Nev­er­the­less, smart em­ploy­ees should al­ways be pre­pared to quit their job to­mor­row.

The rea­son is that the fu­ture is al­ways un­know­able. Just be­cause your job sat­is­fac­tion is sky-high to­day doesn’t mean that to­mor­row your com­pany won’t an­nounce mass lay­offs, or hire a hor­ri­ble new boss, or com­mit an eth­i­cal trans­gres­sion that you do not wish to com­ply with.

An exit plan is about giv­ing yourself op­tions. Our jobs are usu­ally the only means we have of pay­ing rent, buying gro­ceries and sup­port­ing our­selves and our fam­i­lies. Job­hunt­ing is tough and can take a long time. Be­ing un­pre­pared, there­fore, means risk­ing get­ting stuck at a work­place you’ve sud­denly found you hate.

Con­vinced of the need for an exit plan but con­fused about its prac­ti­cal­i­ties? Here’s what yours should look like:

1. Have un­em­ploy­ment sav­ings The ma­jor­ity of us are one pay­check away from home­less­ness. The rea­son? A lack of sav­ings; one-quar­ter of work­ers save noth­ing at all each month. For those in steady em­ploy­ment, this might not seem like a big deal. But what if you were made redundant to­mor­row?

Make it a per­sonal goal to have a sav­ings ac­count that would al­low you and your de­pen­dents to sur­vive sev­eral months of un­em­ploy­ment. How much you need to save de­pends both on your nec­es­sary out­go­ings (rent, bills, etc.) and the av­er­age length of time it takes some­one of your po­si­tion and in­dus­try to find a new job.

Quit­ting a job with­out another source of in­come guar­an­teed is rarely a good idea, but some­times cir­cum­stances may force your hand. Know­ing that you have emer­gency sav­ings to fall back will al­le­vi­ate some of the stress of th­ese sit­u­a­tions and give you enough time to get fully back on your feet.

2. Net­work, net­work, net­work The wide­spread statis­tic that 85 per­cent of jobs are filled by net­work­ing may be an ex­ag­ger­a­tion, but the power of per­sonal con­nec­tions is indis­putable. Pro­fes­sional con­tacts can alert you to in­dus­try open­ings, put in a good word for you with their em­ployer, hire you on a free­lance or con­tract ba­sis, pro­vide ref­er­ences and rec­om­men­da­tions and gen­er­ally smooth your job hunt­ing process con­sid­er­ably.

You don’t have to be ac­tively look­ing for a job to be ac­tively sourc­ing, build­ing and main­tain­ing th­ese re­la­tion­ships. Keep in touch with use­ful busi­ness con­tacts. At­tend rel­e­vant con­fer­ences and in­dus­try meets. Be ready to pro­vide as­sis­tance and favours to peo­ple who could be use­ful to you in the fu­ture. Ex­pand your net­work by so­lic­it­ing in­tro­duc­tion to new con­tacts from cur­rent ones.

In short, build a rep­u­ta­tion as a com­pe­tent, friendly and dy­namic per­son that peo­ple want to hire and work with.

3. Do your free­lance prep Thanks to the twin forces of glob­al­iza­tion and dig­i­ti­za­tion, many jobs can now be per­formed on a free­lance or con­trac­tor ba­sis. If that is ap­pli­ca­ble to your job, it’s worth­while in­vest­ing some time in fig­ur­ing out how it would work and lay­ing some ground­work. That could mean build­ing good re­la­tion­ships with po­ten­tial clients, mak­ing sure your Linkedin page and other web­sites are top-notch, and gath­er­ing to­gether suit­able ex­am­ples for a port­fo­lio.

It may even be ap­pro­pri­ate to dip your toe in the free­lance wa­ters by tak­ing on some side-projects (as­sum­ing your com­pany doesn’t pro­hibit this). The idea is to get ev­ery­thing in a place where you could eas­ily ramp it up if nec­es­sary.

The same logic should ap­ply to any side-projects you’ve got an in­ter­est in do­ing. If you en­joy spend­ing your week­ends mak­ing jew­ellery or writ­ing sci­ence-re­lated blog posts, ex­plore the ways you could turn it into a money-spin­ner if needed.

Per­sonal busi­nesses al- ways re­quire some ini­tial cap­i­tal to get go­ing; whether for print­ing busi­ness cards or buying a web­site do­main name. Cov­er­ing those ini­tial costs while em­ployed means you wouldn’t have to worry about mul­ti­ple out-of-pocket ex­penses when you’re not.

4. Keep your skills pol­ished There are un­doubt­edly spe­cific skills that help you do your job well; in­vest time and ef­fort into en­sur­ing they’re con­sis­tently honed, up­dated and ex­panded upon. Re­search the at­tributes that would be re­quired for a job at the level above you, and start work­ing on them now, whether in work or out­side of it. The in­ter­net is filled with free on­line cour­ses that can teach you ev­ery­thing from cod­ing to Adobe Pho­to­shop. Take ad­van­tage of them. Not only will it ben­e­fit you in your cur­rent po­si­tion, it’ll en­sure your CV is kept up-to-scratch should you need to pull it out in a hurry. — En­tre­pre­neur.

EXIT plans are there to give you re­lief if things go wrong in the fu­ture.

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