Clearly, the U.S. economy has seen better days. Justin Lahart wrote in The Wall Street Journal Online that a combination of debt, high food and energy prices and a weakening job market points to a troubled economy.
I have written about these concerns…Numbers show that unemployment is at a 2-year high. In December, the economy only added 18,000 jobs instead of the 70,000 predicted. These are the worst numbers reported since August 2003. U.S. News & World Report’s Best Careers for 2008 lists jobs with a positive growth outlook, but job losses will cut across many industries – from banking to Yahoo!
What can you do now if you think you may lose your job?
Anita Bruzzese, columnist and author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy, offered several tips for those concerned about their jobs in her blog, Protecting Your Job in Tough Times. She suggests:
Getting connected by increasing face time in the office (including telecommuters).
Keeping in touch with contacts in other departments to get the pulse of your company’s situation. If things look bad, you can start getting resumes out.
Network like crazy.
Stay on the cutting edge of your field and be ready to lead, as leaders and innovators will find opportunities.
Penelope Trunk, a columnist whose book and blog is Brazen Careerist, offers this advice to prepare for a bad job market:
Be a specialist, not a generalist, as a tight job market will allow employers to seek an exact match to their qualifications.
If you can’t list a few strong accomplishments for your current job, make something big happen now so you’ll have good fodder for your resume.
Consider graduate school.
Focus on the quality of your work and securing strong mentors.
All of these suggestions remind us that it’s not a good idea to wait for a crisis to plot our career path. Networking, specializing, leading, finding mentors — none of these are things that can be done overnight. We are so busy DOING our jobs, we don’t take the time to drive our own career bus, so to speak.
We should all consider this a wake-up call. Plan ahead. Network all of the time, not only when you are looking for a job. Cultivate mentorships, both in and outside of your company. Focus on how you can stay ahead of the pack in your field and be a leader. Always have an up-to-date resume that you can confidently use at the drop of a hat should an opportunity arise.
Hopefully, if the next pink slip is yours, you will be able to see past the scary part of losing a job to the potential prospects. Maybe, with hard work and effort, you will be able to find something that may be a better opportunity for you. Much has been said on the power of positive thinking…Maybe now is a good time for that.