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Saturday, February 2, 2008


Ready Your Job for Recession

Amid market slides and the ever-present threat of recession, you'd be smart to prepare yourself (and your job) for a rocky road ahead. Plenty of big companies, including Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO), Sprint (NYSE: S), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), have announced or are expected to announce substantial layoffs.

Times have definitely changed. Don't let old assumptions and behaviors leave you unprepared if layoffs affect your job.

Out: Assuming your job is safe. In: Readying for the worst
Making the assumption that you're secure in your job is a misstep. Instead, take some steps to prepare yourself for the distinct possibility of layoffs by doing the following:

Out: Water-cooler talk. In: Networking
Use time on the job to make strategic alliances and partnerships that will advance your career goals. Take care not to alienate anyone along the chain of command -- low to high; you never know when that could come back to haunt you. Make sure, too, that you reestablish contact with old colleagues and employers who may offer valuable support or assistance in any future job hunt.

Out: Vacations. In: Training
Now may not be the best time to indulge yourself with the vacation of your dreams. Time away means an opportunity for your boss to assess how well the company can get along in your absence. The exception? Pursuing advanced training that will make your skills on the job that much more valuable -- and make you much more difficult to replace. Work with your boss to determine what type of training would be most beneficial, both to you and your company. A bonus? You can use the training as an opportunity to network with others in your field.

Out: Cutting out early. In: Asking for extra responsibilities
Perception is everything. If colleagues see you cutting out early on a regular basis, they won't stop to ask if you have your work completed before they pass judgment. Instead, volunteer for extra work, lend a hand to colleagues, and fill in for those on vacation. Of course, it pays to be strategic in your extra efforts. Send work-related emails late at night or early in the morning and come into the office on the nights or weekends when you know the boss is there, too.

Out: Expecting to be noticed. In: Making sure your value is noticed
Make sure that your employer has multiple examples of your worth to the company. You can do this formally (by creating a portfolio that includes an updated resume and work samples) and include it as part of a performance review. A less formal approach might be asking your boss how you can offer even greater value to your company, while outlining your current contributions. Either way, you want your boss -- if he or she faces a decision about whether to lay off you or the guy in the next cubicle -- to have the impression that you're flexible, eager to learn, hard-working, and accomplished.

The time to follow through on these job-saving measures is now. While no strategy can guarantee that your current job is safe, you can't go wrong in upping your value as an employee.

Source: by Elizabeth Brokamp

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