Recessions are unpredictable, and are followed by rough and slow recovery periods. Even as the economy begins to turn itself around, people are still struggling with long-term unemployment, mortgage debt, etc. Although there is no foolproof way to avoid being hurt by a recession, there are ways to prepare yourself financially and at work. With these tips, you’ll be more successful and resilient in regaining your pre-recession status.
Prepare your contingency plan
Being employed is not enough protection; even in the best of economic times people are handed a pink slip unexpectedly. You will want to start an “emergency fund” with at least three months’ worth of living expenses. There are also financial experts who recommend saving up six months’ worth, which is probably more realistic considering how long the job interview process can take from start to finish. After all, the typical recession lasts about 8 months.
Contingency plans are all well and good, but timing is also key. Keep up-to-date on the latest news and turns of the economy as well as your own company and industry news. With this information, you can look ahead and see where the future is leading. Will your company be forced to make layoffs? Is the economy taking a downward turn? With this information you can make informed decisions about your money and career. You can even find out which industries will soon be in high-demand (health care), and align your skills accordingly. Don’t wait for disaster to strike before you take action.
Make Yourself Vital
Periods of uncertainty are the time to draw attention to you and your work ethic. Sure, you might be tempted to duck your head and hope that your bosses forget you exist while they decide who needs to be laid off. But quiet people are actually easier to get rid of. You need to be a loud worker: have a good attitude, perform well so that it makes your boss look good, and document what you do and your rate of success by the numbers. Brag about yourself a bit, and do the outstanding work to back it up. You need to prove that you add value to the company by going above and beyond. This means dealing with an increased workload without complaint, taking on more responsibility, and possibly staying later at work.
Expand your expertise
Part of making yourself a non-expendable part of the company is making sure that you are irreplaceable. This means not only doing well at your job, but learning how to use new tools. Online courses can help you to develop new skills, and you can obtain a degree or professional certificate. These will not only help you at your job, but with crossover into other industries which will make future job-hunting much easier if you have to switch careers.
In order to be prepared for the possibility of a lay-off, begin networking before you need a job. If you do lose your job, you’ll want to get back in the workplace game as quickly as possible, so having a network in place will be crucial. This doesn’t mean posting your resume all over the internet (what if your boss finds it? Awkward!), but instead promoting yourself on LinkedIn, getting in touch with your college alumni forum, or having lunch with other acquaintances in the industry who will then think of you if a job opens up.
Be willing to relocate
If the economy is hitting your area of the country particularly hard, you may want to move someplace with more options. Big cities often have more options than rural areas. More job options often mean a lower unemployment rate and healthier economy. Plus, changing your address may help recruiters find you more desirable as a local candidate.
Keep your finances in check
One of the most difficult part of a recession is the recovery period – it’s not easy to bounce back to your former lifestyle. So, when a recession hits you’re going to want to be in a good place, money-wise. It’s hard to say when a recession will hit, so whenever you are in a period of prosperity make sure you are saving regularly, paying off your debts, and investing wisely. Take care of your credit-card and other high-interest debt at once, and eliminate big item spending like extra vacations. If you need an extra emergency fund tap, apply for a home-equity line of credit.
If you keep an optimistic mindset, you increase your potential. Instead of a fixed negative outlook, keep yourself motivated – studies have shown that people who adopt a growth mindset are more likely to outperform their peers. Positivity is an attractive trait to a potential employer, so keep your negative thoughts at bay. The US is good at bouncing back from rocky periods, and you will be too.