Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on August 11, 2009

Today: How you can protect your job and get ahead in a bad economy.

Having been a CEO for many years, here are three suggestions to help you protect your job and to thrive in a bad economy:

1) Become a jack of all trades. Baseball player Jim Gilliam played 14 years for the Dodgers which is remarkable because most major leaguers play just a few years at that level. And “Junior” as he was called was no superstar. He was what baseball terms a “utility man.”

His stats were mediocre (.265 lifetime batting average and only 65 homeruns) but what he could do is play nearly every position. In the corporate world, it’s called cross-training.

At the start of each season when it was time for the Dodgers to keep just 25 players, they always kept Junior because he could fill in anywhere and do it well.

In 1964, near the end of his playing career, he became one of the first black coaches in the major leagues and coached for the rest of his life because he willingly taught his skills to other players. In good times and bad, Junior always had a job.

If you become a utility man or woman, this approach could do wonders for you. Years ago as CEO, I regretfully had to conduct a layoff. Among those who kept their jobs were utility players. And having found the spotlight, some of them later rose to become stars.

2) Or become a top specialist. Andrew Healy is an outstanding diesel mechanic in a firm that had to lay off many of its other employees. But he is so good at what he does, that the firm depends on his work of which he has plenty. And he loves what he does.

3) Get into sales. Whether you sell directly or support the sales team, sales are vital to every firm. If you can help generate profits, especially in bad times, you become invaluable. Or if you work in the government and you can help land funding, once again your role is crucial.

In summary, during these difficult times, if you act on this advice you could become vital to your employer as Junior did the Dodgers and Andrew has in his firm. And if you change jobs you will have the stature in resume and references to land another good job.

Success Tip of the Week: Start your cross training now, including taking classes if necessary.

Editor’s Note: For 20 years, [1974-1994] I founded and headed Capital Associates, which at one time grew into one of the largest computer leasing companies in the U.S.

In the next KazanToday: How a farm boy with little education made one of the biggest fortunes in U.S. history.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!