It’s Career Development…on the cheap

Right now is a crazy time. People are losing their jobs,taking pay cuts, or going part-time. There are those who may still have a job,but it feels like they’re actually doing two jobs…or three. And the pay is thesame or less.

That’s usually the rub.

You may workhard for the money, but there just isn’t a lot to go around right now.Especially if you are a Gen-Yer. You don’t have twenty years of experience onyour side. There are two ways to look at this…you are worth way more than thisor you can use this for career development.

You are Worth WayMore Than This

You might be. You might be the best thing to ever happen toyour team. But right now, you can’t think that way. That’s not to sayconfidence isn’t key, but cockiness isn’t going to work. This is the same forthose who are employed and those looking for a job. It won’t work in your favorto talk to someone in HR who had to lay off four people that day, and youarrive on your high horse. There’s a time and place for salary negotiation. Comeup with a plan. Your organization may be able to do outlines as part of yourpackage or current agreement as to when future salary adjustments could bemade, pending the success of the company. Cover your assets, but also beflexible in understanding how the economy is affecting salaries.

You Can Use This forCareer Development

This is probably your best bet. Trust me, I know it sucks towork hard, be underpaid, and feel like “career development” is full of crap.You may already be waitressing on the weekends to pay the bills, or you may noteven be salaried. You may not have helicopter parents to fall back on, and youmay be the queenof coupon clipping. But just like self-affirmation, lookin the mirror (or the computer monitor reflection) and tell yourself it willwork out in the end. Do this until you no longer grit your teeth.

 If you know that thefinancial package isn’t ideal, use negotiating power to gain newresponsibilities or roles on special teams. If you are able (capable, boss iswilling to let you, etc.) to take on new work, you’ll learn a lot. There arenew people from whom you’ll learn a lot, there will be new challenges to yourday, and you’ll go home exhausted with a load of work every night. It’ll befun!

Seriously, there’s a lot to be said for taking on new work.At a time like this, groups will be happy to take an extra set of hands or newbrain for projects. As long as you continue to complete your own work, thevariety could also spice up your life. And your resume. Every time youvolunteer (or are asked) to take on something new, write it down. By the timethings turn around, you could have quite a laundry list of pretty neat thingsthat begin to look impressive.

And then it won’t take you so long to stop gritting yourteeth in the mirror.

 

The views expressed in my blogare my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.

Photo courtesy of clipart

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1 Comments

  • Andrew Lisy

    Excellent post -- as a Gen Yer (I think -- I'm 24, does that count?) who was recently laid off, I'm trying to figure out the best way to ride out my time until I find a new career. The idea of building some skills -- not only job skills, but life skills -- while working for a smaller amount of money has a strange appeal to me.

    One thing I have been doing while out of work is building my credentials by writing blog posts relevant to my intended future career field (finance or consulting) and networking with as many people as possible. I've found that The Free Agents, a social net for unemployed people, is a great place to casually meet others the are in the same boat. By talking to some of the people on the site, I've gotten some really good perspectives and learned more about some areas (like consulting) that I hadn't really investigated much before. Its also a good place to talk to people looking for jobs in the same field, because its nice to be able to hear what's been working for people and what hasn't.

    The job search continues, but I hope that as I look for new employment, I'm able to do some interesting things and build up some different skills. Best of luck to everyone!

    -A