May 14, 2009
Has the recession improved your job in some way?
File this under bittersweet silver linings: The recession has had at least one positive effect on the jobs of 77 percent of workers who are still employed, according to a survey announced this month by staffing firm Accountemps.
In a national poll of U.S. adults working full time or part time, Accountemps found that 53 percent had been able to take on new projects, 52 percent had gained more responsibility at work, and 52 percent had received more challenging assignments from their superiors.
Workers also reported that they're having more interactions with key players these days: 44 percent told Accountemps they're rubbing elbows with management more than they used to, and 38 percent said they're dealing directly with clients or customers more.
Of course, additional responsibility and visibility at work often comes with additional pressure, stress, hours, and expectations that you'll be tethered by some digital leash or other. And it's no secret that all these added duties are being doled out to compensate for deep staff cuts, with little support in place for those being asked to step up and fill in the gaps.
In other words, your job just got more interesting and your skill set more impressive, but your work/life balance may very well be plummeting.
It's no surprise that only 12 percent of the workers Accountemps surveyed had received a promotion during this recession, despite their evolving (and/or exponentially expanding) job descriptions.
Obviously a company asking its workers to assume more responsibility on a smaller budget isn't going to run around doling out raises -- at least not until this nasty recession's in the rearview mirror. But employers can reward the workers they're asking more of in other ways: telecommuting privileges, flexible hours, heaping amounts of praise, a prime parking spot, or a relaxed dress code, to name a few.
Employees, if your job description's seen some changes for the better (no matter how wee) since the economy went funny and your employer started cutting budgetary corners, I'd love to hear from you. What do you like better about your job now, and how is your employer recognizing your added contributions?
Managers and executives, how about you? If you've been asking more of your people lately, what low-cost ways have you found to show them your appreciation?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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