My Greatest Ally

In the game of saving money, dumping debt, and managing your cash flow, income is your greatest ally. You have to have money to manage it.

My sister recently lost her job. She lives in expensive New York City and is struggling right now to find work and keep her head above water. I’ve been helping her with the process, but it got me thinking about my own life and job. There’s no such thing as job security, especially in this economy, but I put together a list of things to help ensure that my income continues.

1. Actually Work at Work
I know that this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I try to avoid blogging at work. I am an early-riser, so I always write blog posts first thing in the morning after I’ve worked out (not today!) and am drinking my first cup of coffee. I do publish the posts at work, but only because I like to review them once more. (It’s 7:15am right now as I type.)

The same goes for Twitter. And chatting with friends on IM. And browsing Facebook all day. And watching YouTube videos. Now, I do make updates on Twitter, occasionally comment on other blogs, and get distracted by the overwhelming amount of information that the internet offers, but it’s important to remember to do what I’m being paid to do.

2. Keep an Updated Resume & Portfolio
This was one of my April goals and it’s amazing to me how often I forget about the projects I worked on last month, or even last week. I keep a document filled with all of the possible things I have done (in college, in my career, extracurricular), and then come time for job searching, I can pick and choose different skills or job responsibilities that I’ve handled tailored to whatever I am applying for.

3. Develop & Maintain Relationships
I hate the word “networking” but it’s brought up so much for a reason. If I was going to hire someone to work underneath me, I would really prefer someone that I’ve met and can get a feel for their character, rather than sorting through a stack of well-qualified resumes. I have a list of all kinds of professional and non-professional contact information for just this reason (well that and because I genuinely care about most of them). When the time comes to change or move jobs, I hope that the people I’ve met in this job and former jobs will be a huge help in offering advice, networking, and even serving as a reference.

4. Learn New Things
When things are slow at work, I usually ask my other slammed co-workers what kinds of things I can do to help. I ended up learning HTML coding that way, something that is not at all in my job description. I also sign up for Webinars whenever there is one related to my field because the more I learn, the better marketable I become.

5. Remember to Follow My Dreams
(I know, so cheesy.) Sometimes my dreams are fuzzy and I lose focus on what exactly I want to become, but I need to remember that at the end of the day, a job is just a job. I never want to feel trapped with my position and want to have the freedom to explore new opportunities.

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  • I hate “networking,” just because in my mind it brings up pictures of sleazy men handing out business cards and not giving a crap about you past what you can do for them.

    I try to actually be friends with people, and it doesn’t matter if they’re in a position to help me or not.

  • It’s funny how #1 doesn’t seem to occur to people as frequently as it should. In a normal workplace, and under normal (non-layoff) circumstances, I’m never on social networking, blogging, or other non-work sites.

    I can assure you that none of my colleagues remember this, but it’s a product of the environment.

  • I totally agree with all your points, and definitely with the first one! It’s so easy (and tempting) to get distracted with blogs/shopping/email etc especially when it’s slow.

    Income is definitely your greatest ally. I’m in my last year of study and BF has been made redundant, so we’re living on a shoestring more or less and just keeping our heads above water for the meantime. Can’t wait to be earning a full time wage, touch wood…