Keeping your Job
With talks of global recession taking over the media and in general discussions, it is a good time to think on how to keep your present job and recession-proof yourself.
Keep abreast of news around your company’s performance and your division’s importance, be ready to evolve and also be ready to change. Remember that “Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come” (my reference is here to the “Who moved my Cheese” if you have not read it, perhaps a good time is now.)

A recent interview at NPR in Talk of the Nation, Stephen Viscusi, author of On the Job, offers tips on what you can do to protect your finances and your job. Some tips that he offered:

  • Learn how to work, be valuable
  • Be more visible at work and do a good job
  • Be on time, it is not a time for big vacations
  • And be practical

It pays to be persistent with trying to keep your career healthy. It is always a good time to start paying attention to your overall career health and strive to maintain it so.
Continue and try your best to integrate more work related training courses in your current schedule and work towards developing your skills – it must be an integral part of your ongoing career development. Always remember that your skills are what will be with you forever, jobs come and go. Never compromise or slacken towards personal and professional development.

Move Beyond your Current Job Capabilities
Taking on additional responsibilities is also a smart move to recession proof your career. Take initiatives brings forth your leadership qualities. Although it is never suggested to take on responsibilities more than you can handle, but going an extra mile to help in another project or area/division of the company portrays your commitment and dedication to work.

Also continue to build on your network.

Some Career and Personal Questions to Ponder on during Recession
The questions to explore during the recession time are:

  • Which types of industries and job definitions are seeing the most layoffs?
  • Is demographics affecting the availability or restricting certain jobs?
  • Am I ready to move on to a different sector if need be? If yes, how prepared am I?

Other than the questions on the best jobs during recession it is time for some present and future planning as well. Think about these questions as well:

  • What can I do to protect my present job?
  • If I am in a layoff this year, am I prepared?
  • How can I maximize or consolidate my savings to survive the recession?
  • How can I react positively to a recession?

Preparing for the worst is a good approach but being paranoid about it would not help. Again I take on quoting Who moved my Cheese (I highly recommend you to read this book or revisit it if you have read it once already this is the time to prepare and move with the cheese).
As time went on he began to wonder if it was realistic for him to expect to find New Cheese. He wondered if he had bitten off more than he could chew. Then he laughed, realizing that he had nothing to chew on at that moment. Whenever he started to get discouraged he reminded himself that what he was doing, as uncomfortable as it was at the moment, was in reality much better than staying in a Cheeseless situation. He was taking control, rather than simply letting things happen to him. …. Just realizing he was not letting his fear stop him and knowing that he had taken a new direction nourished him and gave him strength

Don’t let the fear of recession stop you in your growth, when you move on and strive to do better at what you are doing now you are contributing towards pushing away the recession. After all, recession is just “the act of receding or withdrawing”, all you have to do is to help things move forward and contribute to growth and development.

Ponder on this writing on the wall:
“When you Move Beyond Your Fear, You Feel Free.”

Strengthen Skills during Recession
If you were in a layoff and finding jobs at present is a hard nut to crack, it might be the best time to focus on strengthening your skills. Also it is an opportunity to reinvent your skills. Work towards building new technical skills but keep focus on the soft skills as well. Narrow your focus on towards the present industry trends and the skills that are most in demand. All you need to do now is to ride it out and once the hiring opens up, you would have an edge over many others.

Just Keep Moving
Don’t get put off when everyone talks about recession, it does not mean you have to slow down in what you are doing today. Negative discussions on recession fuels rumors and often results in detrimental reactions in a community. There was an interesting story I read somewhere which talks about how two people reacted to the news of recession (might be slightly abridged as I write here from memory of this story and my own interpretation of it) –

The news on recession was all around in the big town, everyone was talking about the bad shape of the economy and that things would be on the downhill from now on. Everyone dreaded that everything would be extremely expensive, many will lose jobs and it would be the beginning of the depression era – the fear was evident in all social and professional discussions. The story is about how two small business owners reacted in different ways. One of them was pretty depressed, he started hording stuff and stopped investing in further development of his business – in short he stopped growing. He had visions of expansion of his store but he thought it would not be a good time to do so. Slowly his sales dropped and the profits dipped. He was disheartened and he told everyone “I told you so, it is the recession time, and there is nothing I could have done about it.”
While the other small business owner went on to continue with what he wanted to do although with diligence and caution. He continued to grow – he invested in areas where he analyzed there was a slightest growth potential. He focused on products and services which might help people in these times and continued his research and execution with enthusiasm and a positive attitude. He continued to thrive even during recession and in-fact contributed to the upturn of the economy.

There would always be people around you crying wolf, it is up to you on how you take the call. But of course, it does not mean that you close your eyes to the news and predictions of economic downturn or upturn. The point is to learn to move with the cheese and be prepared for all possibilities.