The Silicon Valley Voice

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Keep Your Job Lose Your Mind

If you’ve been clinging to your job, here’s good news. There is someone who not only understands you but can help you, too.

(It’s not me. I have zero understanding of why you’d want to keep your miserable job. I’m sure you would be much happier living in a refrigerator box under a freeway overpass.)

It’s Meredith Haberfeld who can teach you how to keep your job in uncertain times. Or so I learned in an article titled, “How to Keep Your Job in Uncertain Times.” Some coincidence, eh?

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Ms. Haberfeld is an executive coach and a writer for the Huffington Post, and maybe you’ve already been in touch with her. According to her article, “people are contacting me left and right these days with understandable concern about their job security.” I don’t know if you’re coming from the left or the right, or from right down the middle, but here are a few of Haberfeld’s tips.

Tip No. 1 is to be “committed and unattached.” Sounds good, but I don’t think it’s going to work for you. After all, you have to be attached before you can unattach, and the only thing we’ve seen you attach to is the office’s candy machine. On the other hand, if things keep going the way they’ve been going, there’s a very good chance you will be committed.

Tip No. 2 is to “play this game to win.” The game to which she refers, I think, is your job. But you have to “keep your sights on winning your own game.” That means you don’t want to spend all your time “tied up in futile head games,” which is probably impossible, since the only reason you’ve survived this long is your ability to play “futile head games.”

Haberfeld also recommends that you stop trying to please your boss. “When you start aiming to please yourself instead of trying to please your boss, or to compete with someone else, the company inevitably sits up and takes notice.” That’s 100 percent correct. Except it’s the HR department that will sit up to start the paperwork needed to fire your unpleasing and now unnecessary self. “Road tested,” Hatfield calls this strategy. It certainly is. Stop trying to please your boss and you’ll soon be hitting the road.

Tip No. 3 is to “enhance your personal development.” That means you should focus your energy on you becoming a better you. “Learn new skills and challenge yourself to grow,” is Haberfeld’s advice. May I suggest that the new skill you learn is dumpster diving. It will be a very useful skill when you stop focusing on your job, and enhance yourself into unemployment.

“Reach out to people” is Tip No. 4. It’s a good idea, assuming you can get over your natural revulsion to all human beings who aren’t you. “Go out for a drink with an old boss,” is one recommended technique to start becoming a people person. This could work since you can usually find your old boss clinging to his new job as a barfly. It’s funny; something about supervising you turns even the most sober manager into a hopeless drunk.

Tip No. 5 is “keep your tank filled.” By this, Haberfeld means that to “give 100 percent and more of yourself at work requires recharging and taking care of yourself, with greater balance in other parts of your life, including exercise, social time, downtime and rest.” I agree. Your exercise program should consist of jogging to your car and driving to the nearest Costco, where you buy a 90-inch plasma TV. With all the excellent programming available to us 24/7 — hello, Honey Boo Boo! — down time and resting should be easy. And if it only leaves one percent or less to give to your job and you get fired, no prob. You’ll have that sweet plasma screen to come home to – at least, until it’s repossessed.

“Get some perspective,” is Tip No. 6. This requires talking to “someone older and wiser,” who “will share the meta-view that there really is a stream of ebb and flow in the business world.”

As the oldest and wisest person you know, let me meta-definitely meta-endorse this meta-view. As your employment ebbs and the salary stops flowing, you will definitely want to get some perspective. Also, some Xanax, a bottle of Jaeger and a really good employment lawyer. After all you’ve been through trying to keep your job, you deserve a big payday, even if you have to go to court to get it.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at bob@bgplanning.com.

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