Saturday, February 23, 2008

How to protect yourself in a bad job market

When the economy slows down and the job market tightens, it’s time to take a fresh look at your job. Most companies are cyclical in nature and begin to lose earnings and revenue in downturns. Once this starts, job and cost cutting begin.

You’ll first experience the turn of the rumor mill and hear about the “Reduction in Forces” (lovingly called RIFS) or you may see them firsthand. But before you go home to down the bottle of tequila and drown your woes, you need to go on the offensive. Don’t give them a reason to cut you. It’s time to prove your worth. So, here’s what you can do.

1. Align yourself with key players

Identify key decision makers. Even though NO job can be guaranteed during a slowdown, someone will be making the decisions on how to protect the company. Get to know this person or department and think of a project or opportunity you can use to build a relationship.

2. Think of a cost savings initiative

Companies love to cut costs during downturns. Think of your everyday work experience and see if there is someway to cut costs. Develop a way to implement the savings and pitch the idea to management. Even if they say no, you’re proving your effectiveness.

3. Become more efficient

Is something slowing you down? Eliminate anything inefficient and come up with efficiency ideas for the company. No one wants to fire someone an effective employee.

4. Stay positive

Who enjoys working with a miserable person? No one! One of the most important things you can do is keep a good attitude. Don’t give them a reason to get rid of you. If it comes down to you and someone who is always negative, you’ll always win in the end.

Obviously these are just a few ideas. But once you start hearing the word RIFS flying around the office take time to analyze your current role and potential. Most importantly, update your resume RIGHT AWAY! Companies will turn on you in a moment so always prepare yourself for the worst.

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