In the article The End of the Job, Bridges reports that what we conceptualize as work will radically change. The ranks of those considered employees will be infiltrated and replaced by a large cohort of “independent” workers – freelancers, contractors, and parties who are relegated to the “swirling masses” who can be terminated at the drop of a hat.
This begs the question: how can one penetrate the inner core of corporate employees? How can you become one of the few people who are calling the shots? A time tested way to find favor with those in a position to hire (and, to garner their attention) is by joining professional organizations. Not only are these groups a source of camaraderie and support, but they provide credentials, contacts, and an opportunity to update your skillset.
Officer positions (because they are volunteer and unpaid) are in many cases simply a matter of raising your hand. Club officers gain valuable experience, and may be the recipients of special privilege – training from the national level, and the possibility of meeting prominent speakers. Leadership is in my opinion one of the best ways to get noticed (and to cultivate skills that employers consider essential). It may also place you in position if a headhunter (who is paid to find talent in out of the way places) comes calling.
Experts in the art of office politics offer some great advice on how to hone your “soft skills” to appear more marketable (and/or to keep the job that you already have). In The Success Principles Canfield shares the story of Beers, who began as a mailroom clerk and was later promoted to executive producer. He frequently did tasks over and above his job description without being asked, did more than what was expected, and made himself in many ways indispensable to the office.
Interior visibility (combined with social networking and professional memberships) are likely to get one’s proverbial “foot in the door.” In What They Don’t Teach you at Harvard Business School, McCormack suggests not using the office to make a personal statement – e.g., following the rules. A firm can find anyone to perform a job; it cannot however find anyone to attain “fit.” Getting to know those around you, volunteering, performing acts of organizational citizenship, and increasing your visibility may garner you one of the rapidly diminishing inner circle spots.