Wherever you turn you’re bound to hear predictions of how bad the economy’s going to get, be they from “experts” or the guy sitting next to you on the bus. Ignore the lot. 2009 will likely be financially difficult, but no one knows to what extent. Sure, some firms will go to the wall, and some workers will get fired. But even in the worst-case scenario these will still be a minority. Chances are your business or job will still be around this time next year.
With things looking somewhat uncertain it’s more important than ever to have some rainy day money in liquid form (ie easy access cash), at least 4-6 months earnings would be prudent.
Recessions are very Darwinian in that the fittest survive while the rest become extinct. So how best to keep working?
This is a time when good enough might not be good enough; to survive you need to be a little better than just adequate. If you have a business, ask yourself how you can get ahead of your competitors. See what those in the same industry are offering and go one step better. Now more than ever is the time to listen – and respond – to customers’ desires.
Employees too need to go the extra mile to show their employers why they’re too valuable to let go. Coming up with ideas for innovation, doing stuff beyond your job description, and not refusing overtime will all help your cause. Adaptability is a positive asset. Show willingness to learn new skills and assume new responsibilities. Volunteer before you’re asked.
At times like these the myth of team-work goes even further out the window. It’s every man for himself in the quest to stay afloat.
Having said that, the next 12 months holds uncertainty for everyone. As such it’s a good idea to start thinking of what you might do should the unthinkable happen and you find yourself without work. Such a setback can even be turned into an opportunity. Perhaps there’s something you’ve always fancied doing but never had the chance; that chance might be now! You might even consider take an evening class or distance learning course to give yourself a head start in the market.
What if you see your employer’s business is in decline? Should you jump ship, or stay loyal to the bitter end? There’s no single right answer, but at least ensure you ask yourself the question. If a window of opportunity arises for something more stable, give it serious consideration; your first loyalty is to your family and yourself. On the other hand, if a generous severance package is likely, you might want to stay put.