Learning new skills might be key to your job security

Friday, March 5, 2021, Vol. 45, No. 10
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

A little over a year ago, you didn’t think it would last.

Two weeks, a month tops, and you figured you’d be back to work like nothing happened. But something did happen: you lost your job and you’ve filled out dozens of applications but you haven’t replaced it.

You’re experienced, you’re solid, you’re good at what you do, and in “Coming Back!” by Fawn Germer, you’ll see why you’re still struggling.

There’s nothing in the world like being unwillingly unemployed.

It’s frustrating since you can’t force someone to hire you. Maybe it’s an age thing. Are you too old? Perhaps you need a more attention-grabbing resume. Or maybe, Germer says, you’ve lost your relevance. Relevant is “the one thing you absolutely must be to make it today,” to get hired and to stay hired.

Remember, this whole thing isn’t personal. It’s just that young people enter the workforce every day and they’re tech-savvy, light on their feet and have a different mindset at work than you’ve had.

It doesn’t matter how much “experience” you’ve got or how you perform. You could be a star worker, but if you’re not looking five years into the future and aren’t willing to help push the company there, you might be irrelevant.

One of the things you can do is to be willing to change. Learn what you don’t know and toss out any outdated skills; chances are that what was valid when you started working is no longer relevant (there’s that word again). Tap into your inner 5-year-old and become an innovator once more. Be proactive on updating your own knowledge.

“Coming Back! How to Win the Job You Want When You’ve Lost the Job You Need”

by Fawn Germer

c.2020, St. Martin’s Press

$27.99

293 pages

Read industry magazines, the same ones the CEO reads. Evolve and show your bosses that you’re doing so. Ask for help, and keep asking. Talk to younger co-workers, and let them teach you. On that note, keep your “how it used to be” stories to yourself.

Finally, be willing to learn.

“Just go learn something new,” Germer says. “Then learn something else. One step at a time, you’ll become relevant.”

Almost exactly one year ago, as author Fawn Germer points out, everything changed. That’s one of the major takeaways of “Coming Back!” Change in business is constant, now more than ever, and you do have to embrace it, though you don’t have to like it.

Ah, but you can’t hate a book that starts out with in-your-face truth: “Well, this kinda blows,” Germer states, and that sets the tone for the tough-talking you’re about to get here. This is a sit-down-now-and-listen thing, not a pep-talk so much as it’s a pep-yell, sprinkled with things that no worker older than 40 wants to hear, yet must.

But chill: there’s no drill sergeant inside this book, and you won’t feel bad about yourself when you’re done with it.

In fact, “Coming Back!” gives direction and hope, but not just to laid-off pandemic-effected workers; it’s also got advice for new moms, caretakers, retirees and former sabbatical-takers. Read it, be relevant, and see if you’re not working again soon, at last.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.