CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 25, 2015
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4 Ways To Recession Proof Your Career

Times are changing. You can no longer rely on staying at your current job for the long haul. You need to have a back-up plan in place, in case things go wrong and you get called in to the boss’s office for the dreaded layoff conversation. Nothing is ever one hundred percent certain. Even if recession doesn’t hit your company too hard, there’s some talk that we could quickly begin being replaced by robots. However, you can try to implement certain steps into your daily workplace routine in order to recession proof your career. Check out the following four things you should start doing today.

See Also: 10 Ways to Future-Proof your Career

1. Become Your Best Self

You need to kick your performance into high gear. Don’t give your boss any excuse or good reason to fire you or include you in the next layoff. You must become your best self—both in person and on paper. Part of your back up plan should include working diligently each day and being as productive as possible. You can’t leave anything to chance. You must get to work early and don’t even think about leaving work before closing time. Your boss will be watching all employees like a hawk and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down! Get your work done and make every task you complete count. Improve in areas where you are weak.

If you have no idea what new technology is available you’d better get busy doing your research. A new wave of graduates, who have a strong grasp on new technology, continues to enter the workforce each year. Don’t let yourself become obsolete. Make sure that this better self is all updated on your resume. You never know when you’ll need to send out a new resume if you end up getting let go from your job. Keep the future of your career at the forefront of your mind at all times.

2. Seek Internal Lateral Moves

Another way to recession proof your career is to begin thinking strategically. You need to seek internal lateral moves within your current company. Of course, you don’t need to actually apply for these lateral moves unless you think that your current department is on the serious fast track toward layoffs. Seeking a lateral move must be a part of your recession proof backup plan. Just imagine how much of a leg up you’ll have with the hiring manager since you’re already working in the company. You won’t be viewed as an unknown hire who may or may not be reliable. Your diligence will already be on record and you’ll be able to be assessed by the hiring manager.

True, you may not get a huge bump in pay when you make a lateral move in the company. However, if your department is going to experience layoffs and you find an opening that you’re qualified for in another department, don’t be hesitant to jump at the chance. Apply for the position and be sure to present yourself in a positive light as a proven professional already employed by the company. This means that you cannot burn bridges with warring departments. You and your team members may think that you’re better performers than those in Accounts Receivable. However, that doesn’t mean you should voice your opinions all over the office. You never know if you’re going to have to implement plan B and get a job in that department. Getting a new position in another department is better for your career advancement than having to be laid off. So, be proactive and focus on possible lateral moves rather than getting laid off and losing momentum in your career during any unemployment period.

3. Make Necessary Concessions

Sometimes you may need to make necessary concessions if you want to recession proof your career. If your ear is to the ground and you have heard rumblings of possible layoffs, schedule a meeting with your boss. You may not like it, but you can offer to have your salary decreased in order to salvage your current job. Of course, you’ll probably want to scream the entire time you have to make that concession to your boss. No one wants to give up any money; especially when expenses keep rising through the roof.

However, asking for a decrease in pay can buy you some time. At least you’ll still have your job and won’t be automatically laid off with the rest of the employees on the chopping block. You’ll have given yourself a cushion to still be gainfully employed, while trying to seek out another more fruitful career move for your future. This way, you won’t be forced to deal with the stress of unemployment and trying to find a new job before your unemployment benefits run out. Making a concession to have your salary decreased will help you stay somewhat stress-free during the covert job search—and you’ll also gain the respect or favor of your boss.

4. Get Busy Promoting Yourself

If you aren’t already on LinkedInGoogle Plus or the any of the other online professional networks, you’d better get busy. Recession proofing your career means that you need to promote yourself and network at all times. Of course, you’re not going to walk around the office with a neon sign hanging around your neck, shouting that you’re looking for a new job and are seeking information on such opportunities. That would be a surefire way to get on your boss’s bad side and most likely he’d find some reason to let you go.

However, you need to always have your back up plan in mind and network each day. That means you need to be nice to everyone at work, even those you can’t really stand to be around. You never know when that annoying coworker in the sales department might be the only link to you finding a new job somewhere within the company or at another one. When you hear people grumbling that they’ve heard layoffs are on the horizon, that’s not the time for you to start frantically networking. Your efforts will be unfruitful. It’s best to start networking actively each day so that you’re ready to help guide your career in the right direction when necessary.

Stay in contact with a wide variety of people from your past. For example, don’t burn bridges with prior bosses, managers and coworkers at previous companies. Maybe you got laid off from a previous company you worked at. However, if you’ve continued to cultivate a professional relationship with those contacts, you may be able to get a job there again—if you end up getting laid off from your current job. Cultivate a symbiotic relationship where you both benefit from the relationship. You don’t want to only hit up past colleagues when you’re in a pinch and need a job. Most likely, you won’t get a reply from them and they won’t be interested in allowing you into their network in the future.    

See Also: 10 Ways to Formulate a Career Goal

Most people don’t enjoy living in a stressful situation where their employment stability is up in the air. If you want to recession proof your career, start the process by becoming your best self. Begin to think outside the box and seek out internal lateral moves. When necessary, take a hit and make allowances with regard to having your salary decreased. Don’t waste any time. Get busy promoting yourself each day.

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