Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What can you learn from Conan?

The saga at NBC involving Jay Leno's failed stint in prime time may not seem to apply to the AEC industry at first blush, but there's still plenty your firm can learn from the public relations nightmare that's come from the saga, including the end of Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show at the end of this week:

1. No matter how safe you think your job may be and no matter how ironclad your contract seems, there's always a chance today will be your last day. With that in mind, it's important to never stop networking and always keep an ear open for new opportunities.

2. Make sure you cover yourself when you negotiate your contract. You probably won't walk away with the $32 million golden parachute O'Brien will reportedly get from NBC, but you'll know what options you'll have if you do get let go, or decide to leave on your own.

3. Even if you hear rumors about impending layoffs, don't assume you'll be part of the group on the way out and act in a way that could ensure your exit. Sure, it's funny to think about all the things you could do in your final days with your firm, but why burn a bridge for no reason or give your boss a reason to let you go with no chance of getting a reference down the road?

We'll be launching a new feature in The Zweig HR Letter called "The Next Time You Fire Me" that looks at the way HR directors and other firm leaders can better handle the toughest part of their jobs - letting people go. The pieces will feature tips from those in the industry who found themselves "downsized" recently. If you have any ideas to add to the feature for a future edition, let me know. Maybe the execs at NBC will read it and learn a little bit too!

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