September 2014

As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - April 2003

2002-2003 ASSE President Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE

Fireproof Your Job

No matter where you fit on your company's organizational chart, it's possible that you could be laid off or fired-particularly given our sluggish economy. Fortunately, you can take some proactive steps to avoid this fate.

Be committed. Arrive at work before your boss and leave after s/he leaves. This demonstrates your commitment to your job.

Be flexible. Be prepared to work on projects outside your job description. Your willingness to learn and accept new responsibilities will be appreciated.

Understand priorities. When your boss gives you a task, stop what you are doing and starting working on it immediately. S/he needs to know that such tasks take priority over your personal agenda.

Support your boss. Agreeing with your boss is crucial. Your personal views may differ from his/hers, but they need not be aired publicly; discuss your differences in private. It's also important to let others know that you are a conduit to your boss. This will stop them from making disparaging remarks about the boss in your presence; it also builds loyalty between you and your boss.

Be a performer. Too many people want the boss's job so badly that it's all they talk and think about. Excel in your job and don't focus on your next promotion. If you are a performer, others will notice and take appropriate action.

Keep your cool. People who stay calm are valuable. Their unflappable nature allows them to handle emergencies, which reflects well on the company.

Be trustworthy. To be respected, you must be known as someone who can be trusted. Sharing inside information doesn't impress people; it merely makes you look bad.

Anticipate. Since plans often go awry, always have a plan A, B and C-and perhaps even D. This takes creative thinking and careful planning.

Be decisive. Indecisiveness can frustrate coworkers. Carefully deliberate your options, then make a decision. However, always be prepared to alter the course based on additional information.

Learn. To excel, you must learn each day. Know what is happening in the SH&E profession and in the business world in which you operate.

Stay positive. Everyone works better in a positive environment. Be a person who coworkers like to see coming-regardless of the news you bring.

Show initiative. When assigned a tough task, attack it. Your positive approach will impress your supervisor.

Fireproofing your job is crucial in today's volatile marketplace. Take steps to demonstrate your corporate worth.

Mark D. Hansen, PE, CSP, CPE