Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Working in a Recession

I wrote a recent post encouraging workers, especially young workers, to keep up with time and attendance. It's important to be a responsible worker by SHOWING UP for work and not calling out constantly or showing up for work late on a regular basis.

I also wrote a recent post encouraging out-of-work folks to lay off the weed and other drugs, at least while they were searching for employment. Companies regularly drug test now and it would be a shame--and a waste of every one's time--to be offered a job and then lose the opportunity for employment based on a failed drug screening.

Today's post is along a similar theme, except I want to write about the recession, in general.

We all hope that the economy will turn around and we hope that the worst is behind us. But, since last year, economists have predicted that 2009 would be a bad year. All of 2009. It's great to hope that they are wrong, but we are still seeing the hemorrhaging of many jobs across the country and across industries.

When employers are in a recession, obviously, they are looking to cut costs. It's no different than a single person or family trying to analyze their finances and figuring out how to survive with less. For employers this means looking at productivity of processes and the productivity of workers. Employers wonder how things can be streamlined to be more effective using less resources. And, they start to consider if they can work more effectively with fewer employees.

Can the company survive by running a tighter ship? That's a key consideration of employers.

On Wall Street, women are saying that they are the first to get the ax, every time job cuts are made. They believe Wall Street firms are intentionally laying them off in order to keep the male workers based on gender bias.

Gender bias may not be the only potential problem as we work through the national financial crisis. We may have racial biases playing out, when determinations are made about who to keep and who to let go. Someone may use sexual orientation or age to determine job cuts.

Regardless, it is a tough job market out there. Depending on the current viability of your field, it may be just as tough to keep a job as it is tough to find a job.

In a recession, you have to remember one of the things I often write about...don't give people ammunition to use against you!! So, here are some quick recession tips:

--Get in tight with clients! If clients love you and find you very helpful, it will be hard for an employer to let you go. Ingratiate yourself with your clients and do the best work you can!

--Be proactive! For instance, come up with ideas on how to improve processes and/or to have work completed for a task more efficiently! Show you are interested in your work and are putting serious thought into how to work better and smarter. Streamlining work and/or processes would be a great accomplishment(s) to be able to discuss at your mid-year and year-end performance evaluations.

--Try to come up with ideas on how the company can save money (e.g., shipping, travel expenses, etc.) and pass along those ideas. This will really put you in a good light and is another great accomplishment to list on mid-year and year-end performance evaluations.

--Be a positive person and try to work well with your coworkers. We're in negative and often depressing time. People are worried, personally and professionally. No one is in the mood for a jerk or for a really negative person.

--Do a great job with your assignments! Don't give anyone a reason to consider letting YOU go! If you've been slacking, pick up your game and show what you can do. You still might be able to save your job.

--Seek a mentor at work and find out how you can make yourself more valuable on the job. You can also use a mentor as a sounding board for feedback and to get some good advice.

--Try to teach yourself new software applications. Practice on Power Point or learn how to use Excel (spreadsheets) or teach yourself the basics of creating and using a database.

--Look to work in different areas. If a department is short staffed and you're low on work, see if you can devote a certain percentage of your time to working with that other group. This will expose you to other work and could lead to new or improved job skills. It will also show your manager that you've taken proactive steps to stay busy/billable and to remain productive.

--If it's not in the company budget to go to training, consider out-of-pocket costs for learning some new skills. It would be a great personal investment in your professional life.

--Don't miss deadlines!

--Don't start trouble/drama and don't let yourself be pulled into it!

--Don't get caught constantly chatting at the water cooler or in the hallways!

--Try not to call out from work! If you aren't half dead, get your butt to work and find a way to be productive!

--Show up to work on time!

--Come back from lunch on time! Don't abuse your lunch break during a recession. It's one thing to be five minutes late back from lunch, but 15-30 minutes late--on a regular basis--is unacceptable.

Do everything you can to keep your job and hopefully the economy will bounce back soon!


Anonymous Real Estate Agent in Vancouver said...

"On Wall Street, women are saying that they are the first to get the ax, every time job cuts are made."

I would say it's the opposite of that. Men are laid off more often because they have larger salaries. Women can do the same job but get paid less. So companies lay off men and promote women to the mens' position and give them a raise but still they make less than the men before.

Take care, Jay

8:37 AM  
Blogger Shari said...

How about "lay off the weed and other drugs" period? Successful people, at least those who aren't in the entertainment industry, don't survive in their jobs if they're a drug user. You seem to approach this as drugs being acceptable. They are not acceptable. What would be even worse would be to get yourself hired and get some tenure in and lose your job because they perform random drug testing. Many companies are doing this nowdays. Best policy? Steer clear of illegal drugs. Your life will be a lot better off.


12:22 PM  

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