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Worried About Job Security: Bulletproof Your Job
A Book Review
November 2009

If your job is on the line, Stephen Viscusi's Bulletproof Your Job1 is the first book you want to reach for. The four simple strategies touted on the front cover actually organize fifty practical tactics you can employ to help increase your chances of being the last to go and decrease your chances of being next to go. Even if your job isn’t on the line the author offers sound advice for anyone looking to make themselves a candidate for most valuable player in their company. In short, employing these tactics will help foster a positive work environment no matter what the economy or labor market look like.

The four “simple” strategies: Be Visible, Be Easy, Be Useful, and Be Ready, each outline a number of tactics organized into easy to read and in some cases entertaining sections. I truly enjoyed reading the “True Story” and “Just So You Know”, call outs.

Highlights:

  • The Be Visible section offers practical heard before advice presented with an honesty and frankness that makes it less easy to take the information for granted.
  • One of my favorite tactics comes from the Be Ready chapter: Help the People in Your Network. This bit of advice immediately connected with the value I place on investing in other people – the old sowing and reaping principal.
  • And finally, Mr. Viscusi gets points for advocating social networking. His own True Story on page 142 is a perfect example of how savvy professionals are successfully leveraging networking 2.0 strategies.

Low-lights:
If you’ve been questioning whether you want to stay in corporate America – this book is a nudge out the door. The bigger message of this book is that it’s not enough to focus on being a doing a good job, there are all these other tactics you need to consider just to keep your spot in what for many is an increasingly unchallenging rat race. A few of the tips he mentions remind me of this:

  • Be the mini me of your boss: Definitely a turn off for those of us who enjoy being ourselves. I can’t imagine anything more insufferable than spending forty plus hours a week purposely putting on a façade just so I won’t be fired. Support your boss, yes. Be his or her creepy clone – no.
  • I am also not a fan of his idea about stress at work. I agree about not complaining about it, but I am not a fan of just telling people to suck it up. It’s true that every job has seasons or waves of stress, but if the stress is consistent and you have no means of managing it then it may just be time to find a new gig. In my opinion, good companies understand that creating high stress environments is a sure way to increase two things: employee turnover and poor performance which impact customer satisfaction and eventually the bottom line.

Final Call:
Overall, Mr. Viscusi offers down to earth, easily implementable tactics. The advice is sound. He offers a straight forward perspective on the realities of navigating through a challenging and unstable work environment. I recommend reading Bulletproof Your Job even before you feel your job is on the line. The more proactive you are the better you will fare in the long run.

Happy Reading!


1 Viscusi, Stephen. Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out on Top at Work. New York: HarpersCollins Publishers, 2008.


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