Recession-Proofing against the Uncertainties of Today’s Job Market

[This post was submitted by Jonathon Papp of CSN Stores]

One major characteristic of the current economic crisis is the large number of layoffs that are occurring. Traditionally during recessionary times layoffs were not nearly as widespread, and when they did occur they were generally restricted to manufacturing jobs and other sectors that could easily be outsourced.

White-Collar jobs were mostly left intact, because most companies were afraid that those jobs would be difficult to replace once the economy rebounded. However, these days even the largest and most successful corporations are willing to take that risk because the current credit liquidity crisis makes it more important than ever to cut costs, and layoffs are unfortunately seen as the most direct way of doing so.

So this brings up the important question: is there any way to “recession-proof” a career?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even if you are a productive employee with good work manners, you might still find yourself on the cutting block if your firm or industry is really struggling financially. But there are certainly ways to help improve your position; we’ll suggest a few steps here that you can take to improve your chanced of sticking around.

Take Initiative

This is the time to make you more visible around the office and find a way to distinguish yourself. Certainly, taking on additional responsibilities, or being more vocal in meetings, gives the impression that you care about your job and your company, and oftentimes these things will stand out when the powers-that-be are deciding whether or not you are worth keeping around.

Remain Positive

In addition to increasing your workplace visibility and working harder, it is extremely important to keep a positive attitude. This might seem like an obvious point, but oftentimes it is easier said than done, as it becomes tempting to grumble once in a while. This especially true these days, as companies take severe cost-cutting measures such as freezing wages or forgoing bonuses. But in these times, attitude reigns supreme; employees who appear unhappy are more likely to be laid off because it is often assumed that perhaps they don’t want the job to begin with.

So even if things look grim, always be positive. Negative thoughts can come out in even the subtlest ways, such as body language. So sit up straight in that office chair and never let it appear that the pressure is getting to you!

Make Sure to Have Contingency Plans in Place

While it is important to maintain a sunny outlook, make sure to be prepared in case the worst-case scenario happens and you find yourself without an employer. While the job market is certainly dry at the moment, there are still opportunities out there, and it is important now more than ever to make the most of them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should act like you have one foot out the door, but it is helpful in these situations to brush up your resume and start being aggressive with networking so that if you do find yourself laid off, you can at least hit the ground running.

There’s no doubt that the future of the economy is still uncertain at best, and that might also be true of your own job situation. But so long as you buckle down, stay friendly and outgoing, and make sure to prepare for any possible outcome, you’ll at least help minimize the risks of being laid off – and, more importantly, make the most of the situation if you are.

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