DR. RONALD G. SHAPIRO is a speaker and consultant in career development,
leadership development, and human factors/ergonomics. He is a graduate of the
University of Rochester and earned his master’s and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University,
where he was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi. He worked at IBM and also writes for a
variety of publications and speaks on college campuses and at conventions. Email him
GET READY TO REVAMP
YOUR WORK LIFE
The workplace is constantly changing. New technology is announced.
Corporations are born, outsourced, merged, taken over, consolidated
and closed. Employees change jobs. Benefit plans change. Employees’
Planning can help employees be aware of these changes and keep
developing professional skills to thrive.
MAKE A DEVELOPMENT PLAN. Document your long-term goals.
Then prepare a year-long weekly plan that shows what steps you need
to take to reach them; a good one is staying current in your profession.
Review the plan a few times with trusted colleagues, mentors, or
friends to be sure the plan will allow you to meet your goals. Now,
transfer each of these milestones to your calendar. Make that calendar
visible so you can see it and review it every day. Be sure you achieve
these development goals every week.
BE AWARE. Ask yourself what you would do if you were to lose your
position. Would you realistically be able to secure a new position with
your skills and experience at your current salary or better relatively
quickly? The answer may be yes if you are a technical employee up to
date on all of your technical skills. On the other hand, the answer may
be no if you are a manager who has spent several years in that role.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. It may be to move into a technical job you
had before entering management, but you may no longer have the
skills. If you do have the skills, remember you are competing with
entry level or less experienced employees. You may have to accept a
reduction in pay. If you do secure a technical position with pay similar
to your former job, your new employer will have extremely high
expectations. Will you be able to meet them?
Alternatively, your backup plan might be to open a small business,
in which case you need to prepare by having funds available to do
so. Your plan might involve retiring earlier than expected; then
you need to have adequate savings. Your plan might be to use your
management skills elsewhere — you should be able to document what
experience you have that would make you a superior manager in a
Have on hand a reasonably recent ROARing (Results Oriented And
Relevant) résumé or business plan which you can utilize quickly should
the need arise. Preparing and reviewing these documents may help you
discover gaps in your experience.
REALIZE BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE. If your health
were to change so that you could no longer perform a well-paying job
or if you needed professional care, would you have sufficient funds for
you and your family? If you were to die, would your family be able to
maintain its standard of living? Do you know who would care for
your children if both you and your spouse were to die? If not, discuss
these matters with an attorney and competent financial advisor as
soon as possible.
Note: I would like to thank Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for