Four tactics for career success in 2009

The 2009 job outlook isn't exactly positive. Here's what career and leadership coach John M. McKee recommends for anyone who wants to come out of next year in better shape than they are today.


At this time of the year, most people are thinking about next year and what's in store. I've been doing a lot of interviews with various media and press people on this subject.

Here are four recommendations I've given to local newspapers across North America, local TV stations, US networks like ABC Now's Money Matters program, and periodicals including Investors Business Daily, and Men's Fitness Magazine. Each tactic has been used by successful and satisfied careerists. They'll work for you as well:

1. Write down specific goals. The key words in that statement are write down and specific. Here's why - when you commit yourself to something in writing, you are more likely to refer to it, manage it, and make running changes to it. It works better than just "telling yourself" your goals. And, if your goals are not specific they are not as "concretized." They're less likely to be actionable. 2. Do a SWOT analysis on yourself. This stands for: Strengths - what you've got going for you and what makes you stand out in comparison to others. Weaknesses - what you need to work on, things that can hold you back, or make you a more likely candidate for the next round of layoffs. Opportunities - what you can use to your advantage to improve your situation. Threats - what can derail your plans and aspirations.

With #1 and #2 in hand, you've got the makings of a sound career plan. And 2009 is a good time to have such a plan.

3. Ensure your loved ones are covered. You've got the career plan together. Now, noodle about those whom you want in your life over the long term. Many people are so consumed with the economy and their career that they are ignoring their friends and family. If you want to have a life with some balance, treat these people with importance. Make it worth their while to stay a part of your life. 4. Self promote. There's no better way to stand out from the crowd. I don't mean becoming a glory hog that nobody wants to be around; just helping those in a position of influence over your career to recognize that you're a keeper and should be kept happy. This can be as simple as having a regular meeting with your boss to brief her/him on what you've accomplished, or sending a bi-weekly e-mail update to outline your current activity and plans. If the environment doesn't accommodate that type of communication, use chance meetings to keep her updated e.g.: In the elevator ride leaving the office, if Boss asks "How are things?," rather than talk about your health, try something like, "Great! The new software is running well and we're hearing positive feedback from everyone." At we believe that the "real" level of unemployment today is actually higher than those numbers we see in the news. We think it's more like 10% of the population if you take into account those people who are working part time but want to work full time, and those who are no longer on Unemployment Insurance because they ran through their benefits already. Our forecast calls for unemployment levels to ratchet up through the first half of 2009 before it tapers off. Effectively we could have 15% "real" unemployment by that time.

Don't be one of the newly de-hired. Make your plan now and manage it. If you'd like more help we offer a program at this website.


Leadership Coach


John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

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