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TT&S Weekly

TT&S Weekly (4/20/09)

Topic of the Week  Old Dogs and New Tricks - How to be successful today

 Executive Summary, Being Successful Today:
• Sunk costs.
• Transferable skills.
• Ugly.
• Meaning.
• Performance Review.

Your Rant: My spirits are way down. How do you cope with the recession?

911 Repair,
We’re facing the worst economy in generations. And it’s going to only get tougher, especially for more experienced workers. Which reminds me of Stump. Not the base of a tree, but the 10-year old Sussex Spaniel that came out of retirement to win the recent Westminster Dog Show.

This 70-year old dog, in human years, ran circles around all the other whippersnappers in the world’s most prestigious dog show. That’s why this week’s job and work survival strategies are built around the word “S.T.U.M.P.” I’ll list a series of tips to help you remain competitive in your job and job hunt. For more strategies, check out the free resources at

Sunk costs. This is my favorite lesson from my MBA days. Say you’ve invested $3 million in a new building. It’s 75% complete. You only have a million to go. The concept of sunk costs says that you should forget about the money you’ve sunk in the building and just ask yourself, “Is this the best place to put money now?” What does this have to do with today? Everything. I believe all of us need to forget about our lost 401(K)’s and lost jobs and face the current realities. Beating ourselves up over past mistakes is a luxury we can’t afford.

Transferable skills. This is the classic career counselor phrase, which skills of yours easily transfers into a new job, company or profession? Most of us look far too narrowly at our skills, we often can work in many more jobs than we realize. For example, most people think we can only do the job we’re in, yet the Dictionary of Occupational Titles lists over 28,500 jobs. Chances are that you can do a bunch of ‘em.

Ugly. According to the Department of Labor the average job search today takes between 16 and 22 weeks. And that time can often be full of old friends slamming doors in our faces. It can get ugly, but if you hang in there you’ll land on your feet.

Meaning. Call me naive, but I believe that a job can provide a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Especially now. And since we’re all going to have to work longer now that much of our savings have “Madoff,” it only makes sense to pursue a job that holds meaning to you. Sometimes this means a job that matches your values, interests or is something you’ve always wanted to do.

Performance Review. I believe that every employee should ask for a performance review. Why? The last thing you want is to be let go for a “fixable” problem. So ask. And when your boss either doesn’t respond or says they’re too busy, ask again. Feedback has never been more important at work than right now.

Every dog does have his day, and you can too. Use these tips and your potential will be unleashed at work.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

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"Success is never final."

–Winston Churchill

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