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I was checking the news today and I noticed that Conan O'Brien announced that he will have a new show on TBS next fall.

I've been a casual fan of Conan and recent events have definitely been interesting to watch.

3 Key Lessons from Conan O'Brien

Today, though, I had another thought come to me when reading the news. Some great career lessons from the past few months of drama that has happened with Conan.

No Job Is Secure

I think it's safe to say that if Conan had the rug pulled underneath with a contract and all, you should be ready in case your employer tries to something like that to you.

I mentioned this a couple of months ago and shared some traits and habits I noticed about the long term employees.

While you can't prevent a layoff, you can take some steps to strengthen your position in the company.

  • Become a spokesperson for your company. This isn't just for the sales department; being a spokesperson for your company and department makes you a valuable member of the team.
  • Be sure the boss knows your value. Don't ever assume that your manager or boss knows all the hard work you've put in. Speak up and occasionally shoot an email thanking the team for their work and giving great results (cc your boss).
  • Be a team player and lead by example. Sometimes you have to take one for them team and switch from leader mode to worker bee mode. Gain a reputation for being a productive worker.

If the worst case scenario happens and you're laid off or fired, brush up on your interviewing skills and update your resume with your latest and greatest accomplishments.

Expand Your Skill Set

Like Conan, some people have been forced by circumstances to consider their career options.

It's tempting to dwell on the negatives, but it won't improve your situation.

No matter what industry you work in, you should try to be on top of your game and be on the look out for new skills that can enhance your career.

The NY Times did a really good write up about how Conan is embracing Social Media and developing his brand online

Conan has been reaching out to fans with Twitter, Facebook, and now with his tour. He's keeping a tour blog to keep fans up to date and in touch.

Someone that could definitely help sharpen his new skills is Gary Vaynerchuck.

Conan had him on his show back in 2007 for a wine tasting demonstration. Even then, Conan thought outside the box and mixed it up on his show.

Has it paid off? I think he's done quite well with selling tickets on his tour and having the new show deal done.

Keep True to Your Core

Conan is a comedian with his own personal style. Whether he was a Simpsons writer, talk show host, or on his comedy tour, he's remained to true to his brand of humor.

He has been loyal to his team and when the writer's strike happened a few years ago, he covered 80 employees' pay until it was over.

Now matter how much technology changes, the fundamentals in business remain the same.  

Know what your professional strengths are and use them to your advantage. Take some additional classes to keep you one step ahead of your competition and build a reputation for being the best in your field.

Careers are Built Not Made

I've personally seen how easily jobs can change and new and opportunities can come from it.

Conan O'Brien seems to have been a hard worker and it looks like it is giving him a wonderful career.

I'd love to hear your take. What have you done to build your career? What obstacles have you've faced and overcame?

Photo Credit: TBS

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

10 comments add your comment

  1. I love your first statement. No one’s job is secure. I think we sometimes forget this, especially those in high-demand careers. The real security comes from keeping your skill set marketable. I enjoyed this post, so I RT it also.

  2. Good points, Elle!

    I think Conan will be fine. That multimillion dollar severance package he got should give him the freedom to do whatever he wants in the future! 🙂

    Three more important points that will help is to: 1) gain a reputation of being the person who is always willing to take on the dirty jobs that nobody else ever wants; B) always keep learning new things and taking on new challenges (that’s almost two things, isn’t it?); and 4) never rest on your laurels.

    All the best,

    Len Penzo dot Com

  3. Roshawn: Thanks for the RT!

    Len: Thanks for sharing some good career tips. I found that some of my coworkers didn’t want to pay their dues; they wanted the reward w/o the work.

  4. “Be a team player and lead by example” – true, true; all included. But I also make sure as a team lead to promote my coworker’s strenth’s to my bosses, too.

    And I do think you always need to continue learning or expanding your job skills. Luckily, at my work we have tons of computer classes, interest classes for patients/employees (like yoga), and research presentations. So, continuous learning is pretty much thrown at us. Yeah!

  5. I like your last point the most… dream careers are built. You’re not going to find the all encompassing career on craigslist or, you have to create your own. I am attempting to do this by creatively monetizing hobbies so work becomes play.

  6. Sometimes people are let go from a job even though they were not performing poorly due to some outside factor. It isn’t necessarily a poor reflection on the individual. Many people were let go in 2008 and 2009 due to a poor economy, not because they were poor performers or didn’t pay attention to their careers.

  7. @moneyfunk: Your job has some wonderful benefits! I think continuing to learn relevant skills can help you no matter the job market’s condition.

    @Ryan: Thanks Ryan for sharing your goals. I’m hoping to increase my freelance income this year. Please give us an update as the year progresses!

    @Tim: Yeah, that’s why it’s so important to build your skills and be prepared.

  8. I was a dietitian. then a mortgage broker which led to insolvency, they needed someone to blog, so I took that up and today I got my first webdesign gig. Who nows where life and developing your skill set will lead you:)