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Securing your IT/telecom job in a tough economy

With millions losing their jobs as companies look to downsize and cut costs, learn how to make yourself indispensable and secure your IT job for the long haul.

It's a down economy, and my company is cutting costs by downsizing the IT department. What can I do to make sure my job is safe?
The first rule of business is: find a need and fill it. So for those in IT/telecom, learn to make yourselves needed. You can do this a variety of ways.

First, hone up on important technical skills where you are weak -- not where you already exhibit strengths. Fill those holes by desire, action and motion. Show your boss you have the desire to learn, and when the opportunity presents itself, take action and exercise your new learning and training efforts so that you become competent in these areas and make your boss look good as the challenges are presented to you. Also, avoid the "fear of failure." Get your horse out of the gate and learn from the results whether they are good or bad.

Next, look for opportunities. Classic example are the daily phone calls I get from people in IT/telecom with numerous skills, years of experience and resumes that take a third party to translate. In all the years of being in business I've never gotten a telephone call from a perspective new hire telling me that they have a solution or way to help my business. What a shame. I can only surmise that the same thing is true for other employers. Look inside companies by asking probing and relevant questions instead of just asking, "Do you have any openings?"

Finally, stop thinking like an employee. Some employees live from paycheck to paycheck and put in so many hours and that's it. They exhibit no loyalty or hope to stay with the company for the long term. As many large enterprises cut heads, executives will be looking at loyalty and enthusiasm to weed out the robotic employees who have no passion for the company or their position.

The SMB market can be pretty ugly too when it comes to advancement or fulfilling career goals. It is challenging and difficult to balance our lives in a struggling global economy. This means you need to keep a good and healthy attitude and be willing to look at things like your bosses do -- meaning the bottom line. This advice may be cold and hard but that's the reality if you want to secure your job in this tough economy. So stay focused on what you do and remember that when you spend your company's money or resources to be the best steward you possibly can be. Everyone impacts the bottom line one way or another and until employees realize that they are not "just employees," the road to success maybe unnecessarily long and hard.

Regardless of what technology is used and solution is adopted by a company, common issues arise just as they did with older technology and solutions. For example, inventory of equipment and software is still relevant. How much power does each device require? Now, you won't find that on most inventory sheets. I bring it up because it is a huge opportunity for IT/telecom professionals in the green movement. Companies must green their organizations to stay competitive and to avoid possible legislation is which becoming more probable. So for those not knowing where to look for opportunity -- look no further. Get familiar with green efforts and energy. If you can measure it then you can manage it, and this principle applies to other areas besides energy.

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