Want to keep your creative career on track? Don’t get the ax.

Used by permission. ©Joel Robison https://flic.kr/p/dEQuqW

Used by permission. ©Joel Robison https://flic.kr/p/dEQuqW

When times are tough, and an agency needs to trim the fat, you want to be lean muscle. By continually improving and increasing skills, you become less vulnerable. Here are a few tips on how to become your company’s most valuable employee.

When you examine highly successful people, you inevitably find a disciplined work ethic. Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan and Abraham Lincoln were all obsessed with self-improvement. How dedicated were they to their craft? How do you know if you measure up? A recent Job Propulsion Lab client asked me that question. I asked if his girlfriend had yelled at him since he started our program. He said, “No.” I said, “You’re not working hard enough.” That isn’t to suggest that he always should neglect his personal life. But during hard training, it should be your number one priority.

Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. Steve Jobs didn’t create the visual operating system for a computer. They perfected them. Improve yourself and you help your company improve. That makes you more valuable and less expendable.

Awards improve careers as long as they don’t bloat the ego. Keep things in context. If you believe you’re special because you win some accolades for your work, you will stop growing. This business is about what you’ve done lately. Never stop raising the bar. If you’re not improving, you’re yesterday’s news.

It’s not complicated. Hard work makes you lucky. Study the people in our business that have all the luck and you’ll find they all go the extra mile.

This industry has one degree of separation. You know someone who knows someone you need to know. Be genuine to your connections. Give, rather than take. Be nice, even to those who mistreat you. Showing integrity, even in the worst situations. These are the traits of a valued employee. And valued employees get the best opportunities to shine.

There may come a day when you are part of a layoff. But there is a lot you can do to keep it from happening. Become better at your job, do more to be valued. Above all, keep your focus on what you can do to serve your employer.

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