have recently worked with someone from South Africa and they have told me how difficult business there can be. Basic utilities like electricity and water are very unreliable; they can go out for hours during the day. The legal system is subject to corruption. Government regulation depends on your relationship with the bureaucrats, not the rules. Business partners don’t want to offend you or lose face, so they agree to do things they can’t get done. Bringing you bad news is avoided at all cost. Labor costs are low, but people will switch jobs for the slightest increase in pay. The problem goes on and on depending on the city, industry, neighborhood, and your ancestors.
South African business people do incredibly well in the US because they have practice overcoming complex problems. You can learn how to prosper in your job search and job by applying the few basic principles they live by.
These job security, success, and business principles are applicable to accountants, help desk techs, managers, and CEO’s. They especially matter if you are in a job search. They will give you an incredible advantage in every company you apply at.
- Trust others but make sure they are actually accomplishing what they say they will do. Even experienced partners occasionally screw up. Have an alternative plan in case things don’t get done on time. Get commitments from recruiters, managers, friends, and anyone you talk to. Follow up.
- Don’t rely on your relationship with one person, like the HR department. Establish relationships three or four people deep. If one leaves or fails, you need the others to keep going forward.
- Spend time cultivating people. Get to know them. Find out about them personally as well as from business. It is amazing how often this will give you the leverage you need to succeed. Some of our greatest success as recruiters comes from being friendly, open and honest with the receptionist, as well as with HR and the hiring manager.
- Help others constantly. Go out of your way to encourage, help, and promote others who are growing. That help will often come back to save you in a crisis. Helping someone else get a job will improve your abilities and give you a strong supporter on the inside of their new company.
- Constantly focus on doing things quicker, cheaper, better, and with less people. This alone is the greatest job security guarantor in the USA. When you prove you can do it in your resume, you will always be a hot commodity on the job market.
- Take time to read, plan, and think. Americans are terrible at this. Sit down with a sheet of paper and write for 15 minutes or an hour each day. Brainstorm things you can do for your job or job search.
In South Africa it is essential to have multiple layers of preparation. In America, we frequently get by without them. Americans also often wonder why they got laid off and how they will survive when laid off. Preparation, getting to know more people, and fearless execution will do more for your earning potential than anything else.
Something to do today
List where you only have one layer of protection. Then list how you can improve that.