In tough times job seekers need to expand job description

One more follow up to my post about what communicators could do during these tough economic times.

Annie Waite at Melcrum has an excellent post on how to look for interim positions during the downturn. The key seems to be flexibility.

I used to put it another way: that old line “It’s not on my job description” is an attitude  that we need to expel. You can’t blame people who started checking all the boxes on their job description, just to get a great performance review. But in doing this, we box ourselves into our jobs, not realizing that over a few months that job has changed.

While doing a good job of communicating how good we are in what we do, we should not unwittingly communicate how unwilling we are to do something different, daring, unexpected. It’s easy to communicate you are an out-of-the-box type of person without using that tired expression.  Here are a few simple ways:

  • Read something new. Completely outside your sphere of interest. Ask someone with that expertise to clarify what it says. It will stretch your mind, and make you more accessible should the need arise.
  • Try something different every month. It could be a tactic, a piece of software, or sit in a meeting you might normally avoid. If you’re not sure what’s possible, check Managing The Gray, an excellent way to stimulate your marketing ideas. CC Chapman’s podcast is like a Red Bull for your mind.
  • Get feedback. It’s tough for someone who  thinks he/she is an expert to ask others to give some honest feedback, but asking for feedback communicates that you are willing to learn.
  • Hang out with some really ‘weird’ people. I say this in a good way. Don’t just socialize with people like yourself. Try attending a Podcamp (there’s one this weekend in Phoenix). Have lunch with a journalist or a geek. It’s amazing what you will learn in 15 minutes! I met some retirees over coffee this morning at Einsteins, and was introduced to The Black Swan, and epistemology!

2 thoughts on “In tough times job seekers need to expand job description

  1. Red Bull for the mind? I like that! Thanks for the kind words about Managing the Gray.

    I think all the points you made are very good ones. The key is to be flexible and informed. Like you mentioned, getting out and meeting people is critical. You never know what a chance encounter may lead to.


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