January 7, 2009 - 12:23 PM
It's easy to feel helpless during the recession. Seeing long lines of jobseekers is depressing. Hearing daily about layoffs and business closings is scary. Cher Murphy, president of Cher Murphy PR, reminds us there are more people working than not, and offers advice on how to feel more in control.
1. Remain noticeably active on the job. Regardless of what type of field you work in, it is important that you let people see that you are busy. If you look like you aren’t doing much, it gives others the idea that you are not needed.
2. Document your contributions. Keep a file of everything that you do to help the company, no matter how small you may think it is. That information can be quite handy later, if you have to defend your position by explaining your contribution to the company.
3. Help make cuts. Many businesses need to make economic cuts right now. Offer a list of ideas that you think can help your company lower their bottom line. They will appreciate your input and the fact that you care enough to help with this issue.
4. Reduce your overhead. If you own small business, consider taking it home if it can be done there, rather than from a rented space, which could save a great deal of money each month. Also, re-evaluate how you are getting your business name out to the public. Now is the time to utilize public relations, in order to increase brand-name recognition and sales.
5. Don’t complain. The last thing your employer wants to hear is you whining about taking on additional tasks or having to be more flexible in order to help them stay afloat. Vent your complaints in the car as you head home, rather than to your employer.
6. Improve your skills. If there is a class, degree, convention, or some other skill-building tool you can undertake or experience, you should do it. It will make you that much more valuable at your current job, and it can help with future ones, as well.
7. Network. While you may have heard it a million times before, it’s true that networking can help you in your career. You never know who is going to be instrumental in helping you when you need it most.
8. Switch careers. If you are not happy in the field in which you work, you may want to choose a new path – one that is considered recession-proof. According to Kiplinger, those fields include health care, education (e.g., math, science, bilingual education), security, environmental sciences, globalization, and government positions.
9. Polish your resume. Be sure to keep your resume polished and updated, so that if you need it right away (or someone you network with would like to see it), you have it ready to hand over.
10. Stay optimistic. Attitudes are like colds – they are very contagious. Keeping an optimistic attitude will keep you in much better graces than if you bring others down.
“While there is no absolute way to save someone’s job, there are things people can do to help avoid losing it,” said Murphy. “If people still lose their job after trying these suggestions, at least they can feel they did what they could to try to save it. But they may just be surprised at how far these suggestions can take them.”
Sources: Kiplinger. Recession-Proof Careers; Department of Labor. Economic News Release: Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Summary. December 2008