Assessing your own value

WORKING WOMAN

February 09, 1992|By Niki Scott SO; Universal Press Syndicate

You haven't been invited to several key meetings. You weren't one of the ones picked to work on the latest important project. And when your company needed someone to solve a problem in your department, your name didn't even come up.

You are losing your power -- and your place on the company's hierarchy ladder -- and in these economic times, you could be about to lose your job as well.

The time to take action is now -- before you actually hear the swish of the recession ax above your neck.

Start by answering the following questions:

* Have I been behaving in a mature, responsible, competent, committed, trust-inspiring manner at work -- not some of the time, but all of the time?

RTC * Have I been thinking before I talk? Have I kept my promises? Is there anything about my appearance or general attitude that might have caused management to take me less seriously than they used to?

* Has my appearance been projecting the image I need in order to move ahead in this company? Am I clean and well-groomed? Are my clothes, jewelry and makeup appropriate?

* Have I been projecting the image of a grown woman or a little girl? Am I clearly capable and comfortable in handling my responsibilities, or have I gotten into the habit of seeming to be perpetually anxious and harassed in the face of them?

* Have I been talking to people above and below me in the company in clear, assertive, non-defensive, non-threatening terms? Or have I been accusatory ("You always . . ." "You never . . .") or discounting what I'm about to say ("This is probably a dumb idea, but . . ." "I probably don't know what I'm talking about, but . . .")?

If I put people on the defensive or give them a list of reasons not to listen to what I'm about to say, I can't expect them to pay much attention to what I have to say.

* Have I been taking my present job, my future with the company and the company's priorities seriously? Do I make it clear every day, both with words and actions, that I expect to get ahead -- either with this company or another one?

Once you've answered these questions -- and corrected any flaws they may have uncovered -- it's time to take action. Because if you're not seen as an asset to your company, you're likely to soon be thought of as a liability.

Start by playing detective. Gather all the information you can about your current situation and the factors that may be influencing it. Have your company's priorities changed? Have your skills become outdated? Do you have enemies? Who? Why? Keep a diary!

Ask for a performance review as part of your information-gathering effort, and make it clear that your goal in requesting one is not that you want an immediate raise or promotion.

You can't lose with this one: If your review is a positive one, you'll have it on your permanent record. If it isn't, you'll at least know what is making the higher-ups less than ecstatic with you.

Finally, start now to investigate your options for employment elsewhere -- before you lose your career momentum, your positive attitude, your self-confidence and self-respect.

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