CADDManager on April 19th, 2008

Keeping your job is always a priority. When the economy gets tight – it is imperative. I work in a state that has an “at will” employment stance. Which means that I am employed at the will of my firm. If they no longer need me – I am gone. They do not need to provide any lengthy reason for my termination. It could be as simple as a work slowdown.

In a situation like this, you need to constantly provide your firm and your superiors with reasons that confirm the right decision they made when they hired you.

Here are a few things that you could do to shore up their minds and better insulate yourself from layoffs.

Don’t be average. Don’t expect to stay off the short list if you are doing a lackluster job. The biggest thing you can do to solidify your position is to do a fantastic job in your role with the company. Doing the best you can do at all times is the first step toward financial security. No one is going to work hard at keeping an average worker. You need to do the best you can do.

Do more than expected. You need to be doing more than what is expected of you. You need to go beyond the job description. If you fulfill the job description and do not expand beyond it very often then you are only doing what is expected of you when you hired on. Moving to higher and higher levels of job security requires you to take on more responsibility and duties. If you are going beyond the basics then you are poised to stay with the firm.

Build your brand. Let others know what you have been doing all year. Now is not the time to be invisible. You need to take heed that invisible CAD Managers soon get thought of as being unneeded. You need to become visible and stay visible. Keep track of accomplishments and share them year round. Don’t brag, just inform.

Go above and beyond. Come in early. Stay late. Take on more responsibilities. Let your accomplishments speak for you.

Don’t play politics too heavily. Offices are full of political struggles. Some are just like High School. They have cliques and social groupings. You need to remain fairly neutral in all of this. Don’t buddy up to close to one group at the expense of another. If you select the wrong person or group and they end up out the door, you could be next.

Be positive. Even if there is a negative tone in your firm or your industry. Stay positive about the future. No one likes to be around a negative person. Don’t complain or get grumpy. Stay away from problem employees. Now is not the time to be part of the cranky gang. According to a 2005 Harvard Business Review article, people actually will select “likable” persons over competent ones when they need to get something done.

Contribute to the bottom line. Even if you are not directly working on projects you can reduce spending somewhere. You can also contribute by making people more productive. Now is the time to help others get more out of the software. Focus on the business needs.

Be Approachable. Now is not the time to be stuck to your chair. Get out and talk to people. Let them come and talk to you. Say “Hi” to everyone in the morning and go out to lunch with the crew every once in a while.

Be Appreciative. Thank those who have helped you out. Make sure that people above you and below you understand that you are thankful for their assistance, input and advice.

20 Responses to “How to Keep your Job”

  1. Don’t wait until economic times are bad to improve your performance. The points in this article need to be your regular working habits.

  2. “Come in early. Stay late.” GET REAL – When you’re no longer billable you are history. FACT!.

  3. How can one print this article?

  4. JM,

    I agree!!

  5. KK,

    Good point. We are all expendable. Staying billable is the tough part – right. Especially when you may not have any control over that.

  6. Brian,

    Just print from your browsers print function. It should work fine.

  7. Come in early, stay late, donate time to keep standards up to date and projects in line…and never, never charge to overhead. Oh yeah, don’t ever think about taking a vacation. Why did I get into this business???

  8. I used to be the drafting manager for a major international engineering consultancy in Sydney. I left in 2001 to start up my own drafting company working from a home office. Reading this blog reafirms that I made the right decision. I don’t want to have to work hours and take on job responsibility that I am not getting paid for, just to keep my job. I know that’s how the corporate world works but essentially its just employers taking advantage of employees. Would the companies employing you continually do work for its clients that they aren’t getting paid for? I don’t think so.

  9. Thank you i needed a pep talk so i’m doing the right thing and i need to keep on doing it and go beyond the call of duty again thanks

  10. Now’s a good time to assess working methods and bring improvements to facilitate better job turnover. Also get others involved in the process, it keeps them informed, involved and interested and you employed.

  11. I am on the same boat with AS there. I am about a year away from graduating with my B.S. in Network Management and after reading this it just affirms that I definitely made a good decision to get out. I will more than likely still be involved in the engineering/CADD world but will be able to eliminate that stuff hanging over your head as mentioned previously no matter how far you go in this world of drafting in most firms you are still “just a drafter”. It doesn’t matter what you have done for your company and or how valuable it is.

  12. When times are busy, come early and stay late to get the work out. When times are slow, come early and stay late to keep your job. In other words, the company always comes first and family and other pursuits take a back seat. Depressing.

  13. Mark,

    Come in early and stay late really sticks in some people craw. I just think it is better to be 10 minutes early than 10minutes late. It is better to not run out the door exactly at quiting time every day. When you do you act like an hourly employee. When you act like an hourly employee, people think you are a gun for hire and not a company player. If your kids has a swim meet or a ball game – take off a little early (after letting people know) once in a while to make the game.

    Family comes first, but your job puts food on the table and shoes on their feet. It is always a balancing act.

  14. More important than hours worked is how much you achieve while at work. Stay focussed and productive. Get as much productive work done as you can while you are at work. Then go do something else that you enjoy.

  15. A job is not an entitlement or a birth-right. It is a competitively achieved objective. Keeping it is also a competitive process. If you are working too hard to acquire or keep a job you must consider that it may not be the best path for you. If you have the right job then doing it won’t feel like a sacrifice.

  16. I have always worked by these rules. My wife knows that I’m a work-ahaulic, no kids yet. Recently, I have been asked to help justify my position until the executive VP that I have worked for directly over the past several years stepped in and went directly to the CEO on my behalf. Up until that point I was thinking, “I should just leave and let them get what they deserve for not paying attention”. It’s kind of like falling asleep at the wheel and not waking until you hit a tree or something. Sometimes there is nothing more that anyone can do. Fortunately, they woke up in time. Sure thaey could find another CAD monkey, but that is by far not all that I do, and much of what I do has never been written down nor does anyone else currently employed by this company have any idea where to start. They’ve gotten quite comfortable shoving work my way because they know I can and will do it, but they’ve not concidered how many balls would drop to the floor if I wasn’t here to juggle them all. I’m too busy to be sociable. Given a chance I could do their jobs too but I know that road only goes one way!

  17. Hi all,

    I working for a USA engineering company in Hong Kong(Macau).
    I would like to tell you some information in China.

    To employ a draftsman working well in autocad. Only need about $375 us dollar per month. and all their software can use copy version. and they are growing very very fast.

    Many company already create remote office in china for CAD drafting. or some people will make a CAD service company in China.

    So……we are lossing our job……. I am quite lucky, when my boss try to laidoff me. i can help them make a remote office in china to save myself.

    So guys try do something now.

  18. Hi All,
    Let’s get a bit real here. No one wants to work for nothing nor do any of us want to loose our job’s because we don’t give our employers what they want. I find that I will do that little bit extra and put some of my time in not because my boss is forcing me but because my efforts actually impact every CADD user in our firm and I have some personal pride in what I do. And in any case anyone with a view to the future will be advancing them selves to be above average. In fact to be a CAD Manager or IT support in an AEC firm we’re automatically ‘above average’.
    As to the idea of outsourcing I would suggest the following. AEC firms do not outsource strategic process activities. As the production leaders in our firms we should be developing our strategic skills so that we don’t even fall into the same bracket as a general CADD user. The point about making sure staff know what you do is a good one. I’d only add that we should also make sure the people who actually make the decisions above our immediate superiors also need to know.

    In any case, there are not as many of us as our employers would have us think and good, up to date skills are always in demand.

  19. Federal regulations prevent employers from allowing employees to come in early and stay late. If you look the other way, the employee can say “my boss knew I worked extra time and never said anything” on the stand. How about arrive and depart on time – or, better yet, refinance your home, invest in your business (with all the headaches), and be your own boss!

  20. Bill,

    Good point. Many firms and organizations “cannot” allow people to work a bit longer on things. State and Federal labor laws in the US can be very strict. If you are looking to impress, maybe the “in early, stay late” method may not be one that is open to you.

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