The world has been showing mixed signals lately. International Monetary Fund downgraded global growth for all years between 2019 and 2021. While economists have been predicting a global recession for almost a year now, the rapid spread of COVID-19 in late February of this year has been a surprise to everyone.
Ever since WHO declared it a pandemic, public fears have been high. Stock markets have lost all their gains since the early 2000s, wiping off more than 3 trillion dollars in global wealth.
At times like these, when investor confidence is low, and the demand is falling, companies are resorting to cost-cutting and reorganization. The most obvious way that companies do this is by laying off employees. In fact, the situation is so dire that the UN estimates that more than 195 million jobs will be wiped off by the end of 2020. With the lock down, employees can’t afford to be laid off without a secondary income source.
Now, more than ever, it is important to make your career recession-proof so that you can ride over this wave of pandemic and the ensuing global recession. In fact, we might be headed for the worst financial crisis we’ve seen since WWII. So here are some ways that you can make your career recession-proof
Update the Career Lens:
We typically see the world from the job title we have. We think in terms of the company we’re working with, the industry we are in, and the people we make connections with. This can be a problem because when the economy turns for the worse, job titles and jobs themselves disappear.
But your value doesn’t. You should be able to think in terms of the value you add to the marketplace. When you make yourself indispensable, your employers can’t lay you off
By keeping an eye out for relevant information, you can make yourself invaluable. Read a lot, listen to the thought leaders, understand what industry experts are saying, and update yourself. If you can’t say what value you provide and what gaps you will, employers can’t either. That is not a good place to be. You should showcase your skills and leverage them for stronger leadership positions that will make you be seen.
When you stay on top of the trends, you can see which opportunities you can use beyond your current role. By identifying your skills, you can understand which industries you can explore. That way, when you transition to your new role, you won’t be seen as a novice.
Network and Sell Your Brand:
Job fields can be extremely competitive. No matter what skills you have, chances are that someone else is better at them. How do you get noticed in a room full of people who have similar hard skills as you? The answer is simple: you build a professional brand as early as possible.
The warning bells for an economic recession and layoff will be heard long before they actually happen. If you pay attention to the trends, you’ll know how much time you have to prepare yourself. You need to get yourself seen. You want everyone in your professional network to know who you are. One way to do this is by leveraging the power of social media like LinkedIn.
By posting regular updates, your contacts will know who you are and what you bring to the team. This way, when you apply to a company, people there already know who you are, and you have the edge over them. Even beyond your online presence, you should be able to make yourself known. Use speaking opportunities, attend conferences, or participate in panel discussions.
Remember that your networking should not be limited to the people in your company or your discussion. The problem with this is that when your industry suffers a slowdown, you don’t have anyone to turn to.
By networking with people outside your industry, you have the option of turning to them when things take a turn for the worse. Besides, having people outside your industry will give you a fresh perspective on the skills that are in demand.
Before jumping companies or industries, you now know what skills you need to possess to ensure you don’t get laid off. But remember that networking is a two-way street. Ask them how you can help them and who they want you to introduce.
Have More Than One Revenue Stream
Once again, the warning bells for a layoff will be heard long before it happens. If you are observant, you’ll know when to act. Keep an emergency fund aside. The thumb rule is that you should have enough money to meet six months’ expenses. As a C-level executive, you’ll take longer than other employees to find a job. Build financial independence, if just for the short run, is important to ride the recession wave
But more than an emergency fund, you should have revenue streams that are independent of each other. When we say independent of each other, we don’t mean revenue streams from two different jobs. Some people were RJs with side gigs as a television host, music producer, or club performances. Once the recession took away the RJ job, everything else evaporated as well. The reason is that each of them is dependent on the other
Your side gig should be able to help you build your emergency fund faster. Pick something from your hobbies or take up something you’ve always wanted to try.
Several websites offer freelancers opportunities to connect with people who need specific skills. Aside from generating additional income, these gigs have the benefit of developing your skills, honing your abilities, and telling you which ones you can monetize. Several people realized their side gigs were more profitable than their main jobs and left to pursue them.
Don’t Wait Till You’re Laid Off.
Waiting to be unemployed till you start networking isn’t a great idea. At that time, you’ll be desperate to establish networks as quickly as possible. This desperation can make you take rash decisions that could drive people away. Besides, people don’t want to feel like they are being used because you’re contacting them only in times of need.
If you’re not sure where to start networking, you can always contact past colleagues and ask to grab a quick cup of coffee. You can always join your local organizations or mixers to widen your network. LinkedIn is another amazing website to develop your contacts.
Staying in touch also means you have an updated profile ready. Showcase your profile and your achievements on Contently or WordPress. Always include a link to your resume or your business cards(1)
Recession is an unfortunate but inevitable part of the economic life cycle. Some recessions are worse than others. Whatever the state, finding yourself on the wrong side can be troubling, especially because you don’t know how long the recession will last. Keep an eye out for indicators, step up your game, keep in touch with the business world around you, and the ride will be a little less jarring.