Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

4 Steps to Recession-Proof Your Career

Given all the doom and gloom news about the U.S. economy, you should take steps to protect your career. Notice I said, protect your "career," not your "job." Your job is always expendable, no matter how hard you work, how good of a job you do, or how nice you are to your boss. Your career is not expendable unless you are in a dying industry like sewing clothing or supporting a dying technology like making library card catalogs.

Protect your career now by taking these 4 steps:

1. Imagine the worst event that could happen to you in your career.
  • You get laid off or fired, or your career path becomes obsolete.
2. List what you could/would do in response to each event. (Besides hurt someone)

A. I would live off my savings and credit cards and I would apply for unemployment.
B. I would look for another job in the same career path.
C. I would change careers or start my own business.

3. Figure out what, if anything, you need to do to make each response possible, and DO IT.

A. To prepare financially, right now I need to:
  • spend less and save more money so I have more savings in case my job/career search takes awhile.
  • research the availability of short-term self-employment or contract work options to tide me over until I get a more permanent job offer.
    • Talk to other people in my industry (outside my current employer if possible), reconnect with old contacts & mentors.
  • Find out the eligibility requirements for unemployment, how much I would get, and for how long.
B. To prepare for look for another job, I would need to:
  • Research current job market. Who's hiring? If no one is hiring for my specific job title, are there other jobs using my skills I could transition into? What would be required for me to do that?
  • Update my resume and see what skills I can brush up on or add.
  • Reconnect with old contacts and mentors.
C. To switch to a new career, I would need to:
4. Relax, you've done everything you can to prepare.

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