How to keep your job in these troubled times

With the current economy in a tailspin keeping your job is more important than ever. Here are three ways to make you more valuable

You can�t turn on the news nowadays without hearing about layoffs: �Raytheon to Cut About 500 Jobs�, �Commerce One to lay off 36 percent of staff�… New York still hasn�t recovered since September 11th. With the economy at new lows daily, it is more important than ever to keep your job. The best way to show your value to your employer is to increase your responsibility and show results. One way to achieve this is by improving your computer skills.

The most obvious way to enhance your computer skills is to improve your typing skill. It will help you no matter what you use the computer for. Think about it, you may spend a good deal of your day in front of your computer- if you save just a few minutes each hour that will give you more time to complete other tasks. There are many software programs that can help you with this- including the best selling Mavis Beacon series. Another way to get some free demos of typing programs to see which one fits your style is to go to and search for �typing� and there will be some good choices for you to evaluate.

More Features
Another way to show your worth is to learn more about the programs you use during your work day, this will enable you to complete your tasks more efficiently. Learn the shortcuts for each program: there are shortcut keys that enable you to perform complex tasks with just a few key strokes rather navigating through a large number of steps. Learn some of the advanced features that can help automate the tedious parts of your job. For example, you can learn to use the mail merge feature in your word processor to personalize the same letter to one, two or three thousand people- with just a few clicks.

Each person has his or her own style of learning. For a few, reading the help file that comes with the program is sufficient; this can be accessed by going to the help menu on top of the screen in the appropriate program. For others reading a book is helpful; the �dummies� books (i.e. Word 2000 for Dummies) are quite popular for learning about specific programs, even if they are a little condescending. Still others prefer the hands on approach, getting training in a formalized setting, either in a classroom or one-on-one. Many people combine these methods. For example, they start with an introductory course and then look up advanced features in books. As an experienced computer trainer, the biggest shortcoming I see when people use any of these ways of learning is that they don�t practice what they learn. I suggest to my students that they make up a scenario to use their skills and try it out while their new knowledge is still fresh.

New Programs
The way to really make a huge impression on your supervisor is by gaining skills in a program that would increase your department�s productivity and then take the initiative to implement the new program to help your company. Certainly, this is the highest outlay of effort on your part but it also has the greatest potential rewards.

The saying goes, �if you�re not moving forward, you�re going backwards�. Picking up extra skills certainly won�t hurt. Even if your current employer isn�t interested, your next one will be.

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