Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Long or Short of It

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

The Long or Short of It

Article excerpt

This month, the Journal introduces a quarterly column addressing questions about career issues. The column is written by Robert Half, CPA, founder of Robert Half International, Inc., and author of six books, including Robert Half's Success Guide for Accountants.

Q. Is it still a good idea to focus on building a long-term career in this tenuous economic and employment climate? Isn't it more important to concentrate on holding on to your current job?

A. For many people, the emphasis has shifted from long-range planning to protecting current jobs, which is certainly understandable in this uncertain environment.

But I'm not certain long-term career building and protecting present employment are mutually exclusive. The first step in building any successful career is to achieve optimum performance in each position we hold. Careers are built one job at a time. Focusing on a current job to protect it can only bring future benefits.

Ironically, I find that because many people are unaware of the fragility of their current employment situations, they don't take the necessary steps to secure their jobs. Even when a company announces plans to lay off a sizable number of workers, a surprising number of employees do nothing in anticipation of possible dismissal.

But anyone can lose a job, which is why it pays to recognize the likelihood of receiving the proverbial pink slip one day. This means practicing the rules of "fire prevention":

* Commit to doing more than is expected. Volunteer for extra projects and keep pace with responsibilities by taking work home.

* Be alert to a diminution of duties and projects in your department or job. If there is idle time in your schedule, investigate the possibility of transferring to another department with a heavier workload - where you'll be needed or less vulnerable.

* Be loyal to superiors. Quash adverse rumors in the employee grapevine and don't contribute negative ones. Forge an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork with superiors. When away from the office, keep in touch to make sure that your responsibilities are covered smoothly. …

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