Being recession-proof means being prepared in case you lose your job.
What if, no matter how amazing an employee you are, you get laid-off? You must have a financial backup plan.
Have at least three months of expenses saved in case something happens. The optimal amount of savings is six months but I know many find that unrealistic. If you can do six months, however, all the better.
You need to calculate ALL of your expenses and start saving immediately.
Here is a list of items you must not forget:
1. Mortgage or rent
2. Gas and electric
3. Gas for the cars
5. Health insurance (be prepared to pay double through COBRA
6. Car insurance
7. All utilities (home phone, internet, cell phone, cable, etc…)
8. Entertainment (you’ll need to cut back but you also want to have some fun)
9. Misc monthly expenses such as gym memberships, internet hosting, etc.
This is only a brief list. Create a spreadsheet and list everything. Then, add up your expenses and then multiply by three. If you have that amount saved, you’re in great shape; now try to save for six months! If you do not have that amount saved, do yourself a favor and start saving today! Every little bit helps. Just save whatever you can...even 1, 5 or 10 dollars....whatever you can ...save it. It adds up over time.
Add 120% value and promote yourself
Make sure you are adding value at work in everything you do. Always strive to fulfill 100% of what is in your job description and then do 20% more. In addition, you may want to go back to school. Earn your certification in your skill, get an undergraduate degree, your MBA, etc.. Do what needs to be done to show your employer that you are serious about your job, your performance, and the company’s bottom-line. Be genuine.
Finally, Promote your value. Make sure your boss and your boss’s boss know that you are a 120% employee.
Be prepared to make a change
Update your resume. Create a few canned cover letters so if a position opens in a great company, you can act immediately. Tap into your network of friends, family and colleagues in other companies. In tough times, you want to make sure that if you are let go, you can find a position as fast as possible. That means preparing before the unlikely lay-off occurs.
Your purpose is to preserve your career, not jump around “willy-nilly”. While you are preparing for a change, that’s all you are doing; preparing. You are refreshing your network and putting out feelers. If an opportunity arises while you are in your current position, think long and hard as to whether you should take the new job. Ask yourself if the new position is a good career move. Analyze the new position as if the economy was in fantastic shape.
I’ve seen co-workers panic and start job searching right when the rumors of lay-offs begin circling the water coolers. They post their resumes everywhere and start interviewing. I had a few friends leave their jobs to go to another comapny only to get laid off by that company a year later.
If you have three to six months in savings, there is no need to think short-term. Think long-term.
Huh? What does this have to do with being recession-proof? If you are a 120% employee, you are doing what is necessary at a task level to stay recession-proof. There is an old adage that states, “People buy from people they like.” Guess what? People also hire and keep people they like as well! Be friendly and supportive of your co-workers. Provide a helping hand at all times. Be nice. Be professional. When you must take a stand against someone, do so in a manner that builds the other person up and does not tear them down.
Why is this important? Imagine the following scenario. Your name is Joe. Your boss is asked to lay-off ten people. She sits with her boss and tells him, “I analyzed everyone’s performance and I need to keep Joe. Not only does he perform at the highest level, he is also a real cheerleader. He helps other members of the team and he is motivating to be around. Without him, many of the other team members we keep may get demoralized. Frank has similar numbers to Joe, but he’s harsh and abrasive. He seldom helps when asked for help, and to be honest, not many people like him.”
You want to be 'Joe'. But at all costs, preserve your integrity while you strive to be 'Joe'.