The company you work for is nothing without your assets, and neither are you. It’s your assets—your skills—that got you the position in the first place. Whoever made the hiring decision saw how they could utilize your assets to achieve the company’s goals. But those skills that got you hired may not be enough to keep you employed. If you don’t maintain your assets to be as sharp as possible; keeping abreast of changes in your industry, monitoring the competition, and polishing your marketability, they will become dull and of little use to your employer and you’ll find yourself either discarded or being replaced with a newer more up to date model.
These skills go beyond those you use on a day to day basis to achieve your employers goals, they also include the well-honed implements you used to land that job. These assets are just as important to keep sharp and polished as the rest of the items in your toolbox. Your contacts, networks, associations, and social profiles such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter among others, are just as important to keep up to date. You should be sharing items in your social networks that demonstrate you are an authority in your field, and networking with other influencers and professionals in your industry. At no time should you ever put these tools on the shelf to devote all your efforts to your employer’s task before you.
Over the last year or so, that’s exactly what I did. I had withdrawn from my online social presence as work became more and more demanding. My Facebook page became a scrolling haven for regurgitated memes, my Twitter account a dwindling record of places I checked into less and less frequently as the shared check-ins from FourSquare fell by the wayside, and Google+ was just a catch basin for posts that could be shared across all three networks. But duty called, and I answered, ready willing and able to do whatever needed to be done, for the company that I was sure would take care of me as well as those as dedicated as I was, took care of it. My mistake.
Go ahead. Laugh. I’m laughing at myself.
Sure, I had been burned before, but I was naive enough to believe this company was different. They touted their own version of the Boy Scout Law, you know, “trustworthy, loyal, helpful…” But this company promised integrity as well. Upon hearing upper management talk about integrity in company meetings it was hard to believe they weren’t sincere, so like a runaway teen in a religious cult, I not only swallowed the Kool-Aid, but I helped mix it as well.
However, I am not here to bad mouth this or any other company. The fault here lies with me, not with them. Their loyalty is to their shareholders and the bottom line. It’s business, period. What I am here to tell you, is that like your employer, you need to watch your bottom line as well, if not better, than they watch theirs.
What you need to remember is that these tools, all of the assets you provide for your employer, are yours! Not the product they create of course, but the tools used to create the product. They are only on loan to your employer for as long as they feel the need to rent them, but like any rental item, the upkeep of those tools lies with the owner, not the renter. The benefit of performing this regular maintenance will serve you two-fold: Not only will you continually prove your value to your employer, but you will also be showing your peers outside the company what a valuable commodity you are, and perhaps improving your bottom line before your company improves theirs by securing a more lucrative job offer.
Don’t become irrelevant in your job, or in your networks. Keep your tools sharp and in good working order. Watch your assets. In doing so they will be ready when it is time to loan them to the next renter, and more valuable. Stay current and stay relevant. There will be other renters looking for the latest and the greatest, and there is nothing wrong with raising the rent when it’s time to sign the new lease.