Redesign Your Current Job with Your Personal Brand
The first place to look for a better position may be right where you are, and your personal branding efforts can help. Assuming that you aren’t being forced out of your current job — you haven’t been laid off, and you aren’t having serious problems with your boss or coworkers — you should think twice before searching for the next best thing.
Jumping ship to look for a better job is often the first reaction to wanting a change in career. After all, the grass may be greener at some other workplace, right? Maybe — or maybe not.
When you’re limited by an employee mindset, you can easily get stuck with a narrow perspective of your work environment; you may find it hard to look around and think about what could be different or how you could redesign the job you already have.
When you begin expanding your perspective by adopting the personal branding mindset, you realize that (very likely) your employer wants you to succeed because your success makes the company and its managers look good as well.
If you can demonstrate how the company would benefit by giving you new tasks and by transferring tasks that are more difficult for you, you may be surprised to see the changes that can happen in your current workplace.
Here are a few ways you may be able to improve your current job situation:
Go back to school. Seek additional training so that your skills better match those demanded by the position or responsibilities you really want.
For example, if technology is a weakness for you but a certain level of tech savvy is crucial to your career growth, take courses to get up to speed. If your writing or public speaking skills are poor and you want to work up to an executive position, take the initiative to improve those skills.
Lobby for telecommuting. Spell out for your employer the benefits of allowing you to work from home on certain days. If making this type of change will reduce your stress level and increase your productivity, say so. If your boss has concerns about telecommuting, ask whether she’s willing to give you a one- or two-month trial so that you can prove you’re able to produce effectively at home.
Adjust your schedule. Consider how you can revise your work schedule to better fit the life you want to create for yourself and think about how you can pitch that change to your boss.
For example, maybe you know the only way you’ll commit to exercising regularly is to do so midday, which will increase the amount of time you need to take for a lunch break. Explain your health goals to your boss and ask for his buy-in. If you’re willing to come in earlier or stay later each day to make up for the lost work time, chances are you’ll get the schedule flexibility you desire.
Get involved in new projects. If you’ve been on the job for a while and feel like your work is stagnant, take the initiative to ask for new responsibilities or for the chance to work on new projects.
Even if doing so causes your workload to increase temporarily, the extra effort can lead to greater excitement and engagement. And assuming that you work hard and demonstrate your skills to everyone involved, it may also lead to a chance to redefine your position in the company.
Too often, a professional who wants to improve her skills or her career prospects feels compelled to move to a new company. For a mid- to senior-level manager, that departure means six months to a year of learning the new company culture before she can understand her new position in depth.
If possible, the first place to consider implementing your personal brand should be right where you are. If you’re willing to speak up and to learn some new tricks, you may find that your company is willing to grow along with you.