You Don’t Need Special Skills to Survive the Recession–You Need Resilience
Few people truly have job security. Between the pandemic, the recent mass layoffs in the tech industry, and the looming recession, most (71%) Americans worry about losing their jobs. And they have good reason to be concerned.
We all know someone who’s been laid off, or we’ve been laid off ourselves. More alarmingly, most managers (87%) say they would likely lay off employees in the event of a recession.
A new survey found that unlike the Great Resignation, where employees were leaving their job en masse, 77% of Americans plan to stay put because of the growing economic uncertainty. It’s scary not knowing where your next paycheck will come from.
No industry can guarantee job security, but workers can protect themselves. How? By becoming resilient. This learnable skill will help you keep your job, find a new one, or start a business.
Hybrid and Remote Workers May Be the First To Be Let Go
According to the Insight Global survey, tech workers are more concerned about their job security (83%) than other workers are.
While the tech industry has been relatively immune to the economic downturn so far, it is starting to feel the effects. Big names like Twitter, Meta, and Amazon have all announced layoffs in the past few months, and smaller startups are also feeling the squeeze.
Many downsized positions are hybrid or remote, which may signify what’s to come. 60% of managers surveyed by Beautiful.ai said remote workers would likely get cut first. The survey adds that hybrid workers might be more at risk of losing their jobs than fully remote employees due to the added overhead costs.
Whether you work remotely or not, if you want to survive a layoff, you must take matters into your own hands and be prepared for the unexpected.
Put Yourself First
It may sound harsh, but your employer doesn’t really care about you. They care about their bottom line. You are the only one responsible for your personal and professional development.
Take the initiative if you suspect you are at risk of a layoff. Don’t sit back and give your employer all the power. You can either go all in and do everything you can to keep your job or start looking for something else now. Don’t wait for word from your employer—they may not give you any warning.
Build Your Skills
The fear of a recession is motivating 73% of workers to learn and improve their skills or take on new projects, the survey by Insight Global found. And it’s a smart move.
Building your skills will make you more valuable to employers and more marketable in case you lose your job. Those with the skills and knowledge that businesses need will be in high demand.
Fortunately, there are many ways to learn new skills, even on a tight budget. Many online courses and webinars are available for free. If you’re currently employed, you may find opportunities to hone your skills within your current role.
Make Yourself Indispensable
Despite layoffs, 59% of managers surveyed admit to “labor hoarding” talented workers, refusing to let them go. So if you decide to stay and fight for your job, do whatever it takes to make yourself indispensable.
Become an expert in your field. Be reliable. Make your manager’s job easier. Participate. Find solutions. Make it hard for them to replace you. Prove that you are worth keeping around.
But remember, even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee you will keep your job.
Get Your Finances Sorted
Knowing where you stand financially can help you decide your next career move.
If you do lose your job, how long could you survive off of your savings? Those with a lot of money saved have more flexibility and can take more risks than those without.
For example, 54% of workers surveyed say they would be willing to take a pay cut to avoid a layoff. Only some people can afford to take a pay cut, though. More than half (56%) of American workers don’t feel prepared for a recession or know how to prepare for one.
Start by creating a budget and sticking to it. Make sure you are not living beyond your means. Then build up your emergency fund to cover at least three months of living expenses. Doing so will give you breathing room if you lose your job.
Create Your Own Source of Income
Why rely on your employer as your only source of income? Having multiple income streams is a great backup plan. A report by Insuranks.com found that 93% of American workers have a side hustle, with 44% needing an extra income to make ends meet.
Having a side hustle makes you less vulnerable to financial instability. The extra income can help you build savings or pay down debt. If you are let go, you still have some money coming in. It also teaches new skills that will look great on your resume.
Kickstart Your Job Search
No matter how secure your job is, it’s time to brush off your resume. Update it to highlight your new skills, accomplishments, and responsibilities. Did you get a promotion or receive any awards? Be sure to add those, too.
Even if you don’t plan on looking for a new job, you never know when an opportunity–or a layoff–will come knocking. Keep your resume updated regularly, and be prepared to send it out at a moment’s notice.
Pay attention to who’s hiring. If you see a position that interests you, don’t hesitate to apply. The worst that can happen is you don’t get the job. But if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get it.
Resilience and Your Mental Health
The constant threat of losing your job is overwhelming. Insight Global found that 53% of those employed during the Great Recession still feel anxious about being laid off. This anxiety can hold people back, both personally and professionally.
When you’re under a lot of stress, it’s easy to let your health fall by the wayside. But, people who take care of themselves are more resilient and able to adapt to challenging situations. Make sure you’re eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Establish a work-life balance. Choose to be optimistic. And remember that worrying won’t change the outcome.
There are things that you can do to control your destiny, and this is a time when it is imperative to stay focused and determined.
More Career Articles:
- Quick Resume Tips: 20 Do’s and Don’ts Successful Job Seekers Follow
- How to Overcome Job-hopping In Your Resume
Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.