Printer Friendly

How to be certain you survive the recession.

Recently I attended the Communications Managers Association (CMA) conference in New York City. While I certainly noted lots of eager vendors, and numerous informative programs, another situation was quite visible.

Numerous highly skilled telecomm professionals were seeking employment. These talented people are the tragic after-math of a recession that doesn't seem to be improving, especially if we are foolish enough to believe the administration in Washington.

This month's column is dedicated to those individuals who are working their tails off to get themselves gainfully employed again. We'll share a few tips that might offer some encouragement in these tough times.

By the way, I know the feeling well; I lost my job about seven years ago as the result of an acquisition of my employer by another company.

I started my own consulting practice about seven months after losing my job. It didn't happen by any master plan; rather, it happened out of sheer necessity. If that's your situation, cheer up. If I could turn things around, so can you.

If you have some sort of advance notice of your impending termination, get moving right away. Don't wait until the worst happens. Start building your "golden parachute."

First, get your resume updated and keep it current, no matter how satisfied you might be in your new or existing job.

Second, get your personal network up-to-date. Write a list of all your primary friends and business contacts. Call them periodically to see how things are going, what's new in the grapevine, etc.

Third, get involved in user groups, or rekindle your memberships in these important associations. They are excellent for acquiring new friends and business contacts.

Remember the importance of education. Check out local colleges and universities that have telecomm undergraduate programs, graduate programs or even certificate programs. If you can, get your company to pay for some more education...especially data communications.

Those of you with voice communications background better realize now that your skills are not in as much demand as those who know datacomm. Get your data education right away. Don't wait until it's too late.

Try writing articles in some of the trade publications, such as CN. This will increase your personal (and your company's) visibility in the industry. Most telecomm industry magazine editors are eager to discuss article ideas with you. Take the first step today.

Put quality up front. The quality process should be a regular part of your job.

Become an expert in terms of how the company functions. Develop a quality statement for your department. Tie it into the firm's quality direction.

If the company doesn't have a quality program, start one. Make a commitment to do the job right, the first time.

Focus strategically. Plenty of discussion occurs today about the strategic importance of telecommunications. Have you tried to figure out what that really means?

Consider the following: broaden your focus to happenings at both the federal and state levels, observe the introduction of new products and services, tune in to the international market, watch movements of the competition (particularly your company's), analyze the trends in mergers and acquisitions, and keep an eye on costs.

Build contingency and disaster recovery plans for your company (and for yourself). Create network backup plans to protect your firm's investment in telecommunications. These investments will be worthwhile; they will provide peace of mind for you and management alike.

Make sure management knows about your programs. Sell management on the importance of these programs for the company's continued business operations.

Become a stronger negotiator. Negotiating is a top skill for communications executives. To acquire the best telecomm and information systems at the best price, take every opportunity to sharpen your negotiating skills. Take a class on negotiating; several are available. Try a cassette program on the subject.

Your best bet when entering any negotiations is to be well prepared before sitting at the table. This is also true of your job situation.

Become a sales pro. Sell yourself and your programs better, and you'll be amazed how much further you'll probably get. Selling is an acquired skill that you can possess as well as anybody else, but you must want it!

Remember that no telecomm program can be implemented until it has been accepted by management. The program must be presented as a business case. Even after a telecomm plan has been sold to management, the ultimate test is to make it work. This frequently means it must be sold to end users.

Make sure you sharpen your selling and presentation skills. Check out a presentation skills or selling skills program.

Be a better speaker and writer. Lots of you don't like to get in front of a group and make a presentation. Even more of you hate the thought of writing anything.

Beef up your skills by getting involved in more speaking situations: join Toastmasters; take a Dale Carnegie course; take a technical writing course. Lots of opportunities exist to boost your personal resources, but it's up to you to take the first step.

Develop a voice with a smile. Remember the old Bell System slogan about projecting a "voice with a smile?" That could help you in many ways.

For example, don't hide behind your voice mail system, as many do. Answer your own telephone. When someone calls you, call them back. You'd expect the same from them.

Consider making the transition to the vendor side. In a previous column I told you about a friend who went to work for MCI. It worked out well. But you have to want to make that kind of switch.

If you are terminated and are having difficulty getting back in the mainstream, consider short-term assignments with companies like Telecom Interim Staffing in New York City (212-921-4786). These firms are regularly looking for situations.

Perhaps you can make some important contacts while working on a short-term assignment for one of these companies. They are well-connected in the industry; their counsel is very worthwhile.

Finally, if you do have to make a change (or you're forced to make the change), here are some suggestions for making it work. Remember that these times are going to be very stressful. Depend on your family and friends for strength and encouragement. It will serve you well.

* Inventory your accomplishments. Write down specifically what you've accomplished to date; These are not job titles, but actual acheivements. Once you've dne that, develop ways you can apply these accomplishments to new opportunities.

* Inventory your skills. Write down honestly what you do know, as well as areas you need to improve. Create a skills checklist.

* Compare skills and accomplishment to goals. Try developing a matrix of this information. Tip: Work with a fellow telecomm professional or executive search firm whose opinion you trust.

* Identify potential opportunities. Find them through your professional contacts, trade journals and major newspapers. Try to find at least three or four. Tip: Don't overlook interesting situations which might exist within your present company.

* Make selections and begin the job change process. Select at least two situations that appeal to you. Determine the reasons why you should be doing it. Build a matrix based on your accomplishments and skills. Tip: If your goal requires more training, include that in your plans.

* Identify fall-back options. Suppose your first or second choice doesn't happen. Build these contingencies into your career plan, just as you do with telecomm systems.

* Develop a career progression chart. Set short-and-long-term goals; e.g., positions you want to have within a particular time frame;

* Let your boss know (if possible). Depending on your relationship with your boss, consider advising him of your plans. You might get some good suggestions.

* Start right now. You'll find that having a plan gives you a good, confident feeling. And the sooner you get started, the better you'll feel.

Hustle! Make that a permanent resolution for yourself. Don't ever again allow yourself to get too comfortable in your job. It might not be there tomorrow. Good luck!
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Communications Management
Author:Kirvan, Paul
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:There are dollars for users to make in ISDN applications.
Next Article:Compressed digital video for business TV applications.

Related Articles
Communicators face those recession blues.
Survival vs growth.
Tough times offer some valuable lessons.
Survey: 'growth' companies withstood recession.
Weathering the recession.
Recession proofing & planning for profits.
Holewall pullaway and resin recession: maintaining the electroless copper process chemistry within recommended range can alleviate many common...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters