We are surrounded by the unpleasant reality of dwindling economy, employees getting laid-off and businesses closing. The news continuously adds up, the number of closed businesses and growing names of companies who are restructuring their organization by eliminating divisions and letting go of employees. So it is a clear and unfortunately real that we are dealing with recession. Though the current economic conditions seem sad, what is even scarier is that it is believed that our nation has not hit the bottom just yet-meaning it can get worse. So what are we to do?
“Do, don’t Worry”
A few people from my office were recently let go. Though I hear it on the news and read about it, seeing these individuals leave definitely hit home. Of course I was worried. To make matters worse the particular individuals who parted with the company happened to have had new babies within the past few months. It was very difficult to deal with what was happening when I looked at their children’s pictures on their work phones. So I started wondering, ‘is my company starting to lay off employees too?’ To my understanding, these individuals were bound to depart from the organization regardless of the current economic status because of their performance history. The possibility of layoffs coming to my company and even to my department was very much possible as any company must do whatever necessary in order to sustain their profitability-including cutting their head counts and restructuring the organization. This leaves all of us with a clear option-to do and not to worry. Although not desirable, times like this allow us to really examine our day-to-day performance and outlook of work and social life. We must do whatever possible to find fulfillment in our jobs and lives keeping in mind that tomorrow is not promised for anyone. I adapted the “Do, don’t Worry” slogan from my company’s regional president. As one of the company’s upper management member, he is responsible for motivating employees in this tough economic environment and keep the company profitable. So when asked about the company’s performance and outlook, he says do everything you can to be successful and drive results and don’t worry about the rest. Easier said than done? Well read on…
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference”
Let’s face it, just like as individuals we cut back on expenses and reevaluate our wants and needs, companies must do just that when faced with negative growth and declining revenue. Unfortunately, part of that can mean many individuals losing their jobs, which threatens their families’ well-being and survival. The first step to dealing with what is currently happening is to accept the fact that it is happening. I recently watched a program where news reporters and anchors who covered the presidential election and interviewed auto workers were sitting on the other side of the table and being interviewed because they were laid-off after so many years of experience and service. The good news is that history shows that the economy, whether interjected by the government or left alone, will return to normal. How long that takes is another unknown. Therefore we must take full control of the aspects we still have control over and prepare ourselves to deal with what might come.
Here are some ways on how you can make the most of the economic crisis:
1. Be Proactive
My experience of being saddened by the individuals who lost their jobs also gave me the push I needed to perform to my best ability at work on a daily basis. Every morning, I wake up and I am grateful that I am still receiving a paycheck and I can go to work. This close to home experience has humbled me in a way that lets me see things in a positive light. I am less likely to complain about work-related issues because I quickly remember that I am having these issues because I have a job. This is an opportunity to show company leaders that you have bought into their determination to make the company successful. Recommended reading: “Who moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson
2. Increase Your Marketability
The current crisis also presents us with the opportunity to revisit our gifts, skills, and contributions we offer to a company in other words – our resume. Let’s take the opportunity to brush up on our qualifying and desirable skills and make ourselves marketable. We should have an updated ‘elevator sales pitch’ and resume at all times. Careerbuilder.com has sample resumes and flag terminologies that employers look for in a resume.
3. Learn All You Can
If your organization offers optional training/leadership program, take advantage of that. In addition to making you a better contributor to your company, it will provide you with a change of environment from your everyday work area and possibly allow you to network with important contacts within your company. There are also many career coaching seminars given across the country-search the Internet for one around your home area.
4. Start Your Own Business
It may sound ironical but job loss usually leads to entrepreneurship and starting of a business. If you have a dream job you want to pursue, concentrate your energy on researching that industry and market. In addition to taking your mind off the ever so sad stories heard all around us, you will get to concentrate on what you love to be doing. The book “Test- Drive Your Dream Job” by Brian Kurth offers a useful guide to entrepreneurship shown through real life stories.
As we hear it stated many times, “we are not given more than we can handle”. This does not by any means undermine the worry and uneasiness of living through economically though times. However, it may help just a bit to know that everything happens for a reason and takes its course to teach us valuable lessons. So, let’s prepare ourselves for humbleness, humility, and a lot of positive thinking in order to come out stronger from this economic crisis. After all, we cannot appreciate our blessings without a reference to unfavorable situations.