5 rules for surviving Work 2.0

Seth Godin gets it spot on, again.

An article on Business Insider says it all …

If You’re An Average Worker, You’re Going Straight To The Bottom

Welcome to the New Reality. Welcome to Work 2.0.

Or perhaps, welcome back to Work 2.0, because we have been here before. We are here everytime economies tighten.

And for most people, it isn’t fun.

There are going to be two groups of people in most companies – stars and everyone else.

Guess which one you NEED to be in.

We have seen the Jack Welch 10/70/20 model around for a while and several companies are using this (with varying results), but what Seth points to is a more simple model. Star or not. You are either someone a company values, someone who is a key player or you are a hired hand.

Hired hands get utility pay (not average, you get what they can get away with paying you), no security, no perks and no enjoyment. You are a warm, living breathing machine. If the work could be automated cheaper than you, it will be.

Stars get perks. They have to work hard, probably harder than the average pool, but they get the benefits as well. And before you think about trading work/life balance, this is only a choice if you are a star. If you are Mr Average, in the everyone else pool, then you have no choice.

Doesn’t sound like fun, it isn’t. Review time will be painful, and you know that several of your colleagues will get the chop. That is the way the model works. Don’t expect fairness. Don’t expect respect. That is reserved for the stars.

So now you know how this works, you can do something about it.

So take control, get a plan, and WORK that plan:

5 tips … I could list hundreds, others have, so go find them. Start with ‘personal productivity’, ‘personal brand’, ‘blah blah blah’. You know the score here. The game is changing though and so are the rules. Some of the options are disappearing. So here are some ideas to help you get out of that average pool.

  1. Get seen. Don’t be anonymous. Think about your personal brand (Tom Peter’s has written loads on this, so go read it). Be the go-to guy for something. You can be a star janitor, a star cook, a star teacher. Stand out from the rest by being the best. Being average = being last. Nice? No, but this is the reality of Work 2.0. You decide where you set the bar. Set it high. Set it higher than everyone else. Yes this means more work, but that is life now. Do the work = keep the work.
  2. Be proactive. Don’t wait for the world to come to you. It won’t. Get out there. Network, go to meetings. Not invited? Be polite and ask to join.  Look for a group that shares your passion. If you reach a dead end, then volunteer your time to help others. Got an excuse for why you can’t? Write it down, then write 5/10/50 ways to get past this. Giving an excuse is like writing a sick note to yourself.
  3. Invest in yourself. Soak up knowledge. Know your domain better than anyone else. Have the answers, know how to get things done. Buy/borrow/download books AND READ THEM. Don’t just read blogs, read books. Understand the detail. Make sure you know what is happening in your domain. Don’t read content online aimlessly, CONTRIBUTE to it. Write your ideas down. This forces you to think through the logic of them and test with others. Find your voice. Writing helps you discover your passion, because no one wants to write about something they don’t care about. The world’s best teachers are online. Watch TED, go to local Universities to watch visiting speakers.
  4. Over-deliver. You know the maxim. Under-promise and over-deliver. Well here is the new one: Under-promise, over deliver, and do this before the next guy. This means that you need to focus. It probably means that you need to give up some of your free time, maybe work a bit extra on the weekend, in the evening. So do it.  Not for everything, but for the work that matters. Work/life balance will take a hit, but losing your job is a bigger hit. The same applies if you are self-employed. Go that extra mile, particularly when you are starting out and building a client base. And a quick tip. Work for the boss/client is your top priority. Always, no exceptions. Never, ever disappoint your boss/client. Good managers will remember this and support you, bad ones will take advantage. Don’t do it and lose the job/client. That is worse. When you have the boss wanting your work, the client demanding your time, then you get the power to negotiate – but not until that happens.
  5. Stay healthy. I know, you are looking at this and saying, ‘what’??? A health message. Yes. Absolutely. Work today is hard. I might like it to be different, but for every great employer with a gym, complimentary massages and free food there are a million average companies, but that is what it is. Get over it. In the current economic climate it isn’t going to change soon. Whether you work for someone else or yourself, hard work is the order of the day. So look after your most valuable asset – your body – both physically and mentally because if you don’t, you will get ill. If you get ill, you lose. Simple as that. Can’t work = no money, no business. So you need to stay healthy. Restrict TV time, limit online activity and make time for your body. Cook fresh food, don’t eat junk, only drink water (never soda/fizz). Keep the alcohol sensible. Walk/run/bike, whatever you want. Get the heart rate up and keep moving about.

 

So you read this and think, this Work 2.0 thing sucks. Absolutely. It does until you take control of it, get out of the average pool, and either become a star, or run your own business because the one thing you don’t want to be is average.

 

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