What's the most important corporate survival tip during a recession? "Get the boss to like you," says John J. Querio, a partner in a 3-year-old Naperville, Ill., consulting firm, J. Joseph & Associates Inc.
"Anybody and everybody anywhere can get shot," said Mr. Querio, whose firm deals in career marketing and consulting and corporate outplacement. "It doesn't matter how good or bad you are. It's timing."
So protect yourself, he says. "Find out what the boss likes. If you don't know, ask."
Bosses especially like "people who get the job done," he adds.
Some other tips: Identify the office gossip with the most consistently reliable information. Volunteer for seemingly onerous assignments. Never make excuses. Do plenty of networking.
At the end of the 1980s, when middle management ranks were decimated, there were 12.5 million managers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2.5 million executives and senior managers, 5 million middle managers and 5 million supervisors.
Despite the downsizing, the number of management jobs is expected to increase by 3 million in this decade. But managers who are getting jobs today are different from those hired in the halcyon 1980s, when the best jobs went to MBAs, engineers and lawyers.
"Managers are evolving, not disappearing," said Craig Perrin, senior product designer for Zenger-Miller Inc., an international management training and consulting firm headquartered in San Jose, Calif.
Job opportunities will open up for those interested in becoming managers who are skilled in motivating a diverse employee group to generate new ideas.
Esquire magazine's first survey of college students -- more than 1,000 were polled on 27 campuses for its College Life '92 April issue -- certainly produced some zany responses.
ABC-TV celebrity Diane Sawyer got 29.8 percent of the votes when students were asked who they would like to work for after graduation. Second, with 20.2 percent, was Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca, who retires at year-end. Following Ms. Sawyer and Mr. Iacocca were Donald Trump, 12.2 percent; President Bush, 11.7; and computer whiz Steve Jobs, 7.2.
Teaching was cited by 49.4 percent when asked what they would opt for if they could earn $100,000 a year and had a choice of jobs. Other votes: lawyer, 17.1 percent; doctor, 12.8; investment banker, 11.3; and politician, 6.4 percent.