People should always have a backup employment plan

Such a combination is more common than you think.

While filling the soda coolers at work recently, a coworker noticed that I was training a member of my team in filling the soda coolers. While filling soda coolers isn’t a cumbersome task, it’s nevertheless a task that my boss has delegated to me.

What happens if I have to call out of work on a day where soda is filled? The job has to be done by someone, but the reality is that while I have impeccably reliable attendance, anything can happen that would cause me to be unavailable.

All employers of companies are human — we have lives, spouses, pets, external committments to our jobs, and predominately, we seek to grow ourselves; we don’t seek to become complacent even if it appears as such on the outside. As we perform our jobs and take on new skills, good management takes notice and tasks us with a challenge to perform those new skills in what could be preparation for a promotion. For all you know, in the background while your manager is asking you to perform this new task on a regular basis aside of your current role, she is looking among your team to see who can fill in for you while you are improving.

For all jobs that exist, there should be someone crosstrained for that inevitability of your absence. They don’t know have to know the job as intimately as you do, but learn enough of it that they can perform adequately, even if that means doing it once a week for a month. Not everyone gives a two-week notice when they leave employment, and your supervisor might get a last-minute phone call that something emergent as happened and you won’t be in.

It could also be the case that you walk into work Monday morning to learn that budget cuts have forced cutbacks in your department. While they recognize your contributions to the company, you have been employed the shortest time of everyone, therefore are cut loose. Mind you, you were scheduled to give a presentation on a policy that you created and implemented.

Additionally, merging and eliminating departments and positions is a normal course of business. You may have the best track record of perofrmance with your current company, but your company agrees to be bought out by another, leading to someone else being moved into your position. The upside to it is that you still leave your company with a good reputation and recommendations, in addition to a severance package.

It can also happen that in the course of you doing your job, you form a side business. Within a year of its inception, you compare your earnings with your employer with the earnings from the new venutre and discover that your entrepreneurial salary is greater, and you have more time for family and other social commitments. Friday morning, you walk into your boss’ office and inform her you’re leaving in two weeks as an opportunity has opened that you decided to take. If your boss had someone crosstrained, the interim replacement shouldn’t be a cumbersome transition. Granted, your boss might have to be more available to support this transition, but it makes it smoother to transition an existing employee while she does the due dilligence of filling the empty position.

Today, when I have conversations with people both on social media and in-person, many tell me that they have side gigs that are a supplement to their primary job. After all, how many police officers work security details off-the-clock? How many CPA’s of large companies will launch a part-time tax-preparation business during tax time? How many doctors and clinicians who work for a clinic establish a non-insurance accepting practice on the side? Some will do it to build up a client base that will allow them to leave their employer and be an entrepreneur, and some will do it for spare cash.

All of this should reinforce keeping social media profiles updated with links to relevant work experience and samples where appropriate. If you don’t have a blog, create one. When you write articles about your accomplishments, share them on social media. If you work for a company that has a blog, ask your marketing team if they’ll feature your accomplishment on their blog. When you join professional groups or associations, indicate those on your blog and update your social profiles accordingly. When attending professional events, whether on or off the clock, let your network know as engagement could expose you to new people even if they aren’t there.

Finally, be aware of your primary employer’s policies on side employment and potential conflicts of interest. Be aware of the contents of any nondisclosure and noncompete agreements that might affect your side gigs; as you are going through orientation, know the location of such policies so that you can review them on your own time. If your employment is by contract, be sure that you’re not violating any terms of your contract as it could result in you being sued.