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Friday, 28 November 2008

Recession-Proof Your Job

In the current economy downturn, we may want to refer to the famous quote from John Kennedy, 35th President of the United States:
“Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

It may be appropriate here to modify this famous saying as follows:
“Ask not what your company can do for you - ask what you can do for your company.”

Why? Because if your company does not make it, neither will you. You lose your job and if you are lucky, you find your next job quickly. But ask yourself: how likely will that be during the current market situation.

Another timely quote from Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States:
“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it."

Companies are struggling! In the United States, former leading brand names like GM, Ford and Chrysler are fighting for survival. Companies in Singapore are foreseeing a difficult time ahead. So, what should you do? Whine and wait for the worst or stand up for your company and live to fight another day? Below are some suggestions how you can stand up and make a difference to recession-proof yourself.

Attitude counts a lot.
It is all about attitude. In the current difficult time, the importance of attitude cannot be over-emphasized. Positive attitude will help boost morale and enhance harmony and unity. This is made more important during difficult times where morale is typically low.

Take a macro view/look at the whole picture.
Look at the company as a whole and see yourself as part of the whole company. Do not wait to be told to do something. Now is the crucial time when you should look hard around and help the company to be stronger to be able to secure the diminished available business.
Be aware of and anticipate the needs of your co-workers and other departments. If you come across an article that might be useful to your co-workers, send it to them with a note.

Think of ways to generate revenues or cut costs.
During an economy downturn, the opportunity to generate revenues is diminished. Even then, we should always pro-actively think of ways to generate revenues. It is only when we ‘give up’ and stop thinking that we get into trouble.
We should keep the cost factor firmly in mind and cut costs wherever possible. Whatever costs that can be postponed should be postponed. Differentiate between needs and wants. All the wants should be firmly put on hold.
Cutting costs means that you can offer a more competitive price to your customers. Cutting costs is different from cutting corners. It means doing things in a more efficient way and doing away with non-essential stuff, without any adverse effect to quality.

Make positive contributions.
Make positive contributions whenever possible. Think of all possible ways to make positive contributions, even if it is not in your area of responsibility. Share your ideas willingly and be helpful to everyone.

Talk up your contributions.
There is no need to boast about your contributions. But keeping silent about contributions is not going help either. Subtly mention how your contributions have helped and offer more help whenever possible.

Doing your job well will not help.
In good times, doing your job well may suffice. In the current difficult situation, doing well just is not enough. Why? Because of the diminished available business opportunity, we must do our job exceptionally well to be able win the projects.

Build a strong rapport with other departments.
Unity is strength. Unity enhances morale. This is more crucial during the current downturn when morale can be low.

Make yourself stand out. Strive to be leader in your industry.
In such difficult times, it becomes more essential be best as we are competing for a limited number of available projects in the market. You can write articles, do a presentation at a seminar or even make use of the current trend and use a blog.

Get your skills up to date.
Ask yourself. If your skill is outdated, how can you contribute to the company? During the downturn, normal people start to worry. Progressive people think of how to contribute to the company by upgrading their skills, in line with the company’s requirements. Doing so will demonstrate to your company your positive attitude.

Continue networking.
It is more about who you know than what you know. What you know is important of course, but who you know can go a long way to help you succeed in difficult times. With your strong network and through the network of your network, you will be surprised how much can be achieved. This is particularly true in the current difficult time.

Be visible.
Be visible. In such difficult times, the company needs all contributions it can get. Now is not the best time to go on long vacation. The risk is that you may return to find out your job has become redundant. Make yourself useful and visible. Offer whatever help you can to whichever department that needs help.

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