Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans are concerned about losing their jobs in a recession. Here’s how to protect you
We don’t know for sure whether or not a recession will come, but there’s no harm in being prepared.
the main points
- Nearly 4 out of 5 people feel they will lose their jobs in a recession.
- You can prepare yourself for economic hardship by making a plan now.
- Learn new skills, maintain your professional network, and raise your own emergency fund for when times are good.
There has been no shortage of things to worry about in recent years. Not only did we have to deal with a global health crisis due to COVID-19, we also had to deal with all the economic uncertainty that came with it. But while we may have put the worst of the pandemic behind us, unfortunately it appears that anxiety and uncertainty are still on the way. Research from Insight Global shows that nearly 4 out of 5 Americans are worried that they will lose their jobs if a recession hits.
Is there a recession coming?
The short answer is maybe. Some economists say a severe recession is on its way, while others argue that it is already there. However, many believe that stagnation can be avoided. The confusion comes from the fact that the major indicators point in different directions.
Economists look at things like unemployment, layoffs, economic growth, and spending. The unemployment rate is very low, and there were more than 500,000 new jobs in July. At the same time, high inflation means that consumers don’t feel like their dollars are going away. In addition, GDP has fallen slightly for two consecutive quarters.
But when it comes to your career, the semantics are not so important. If we hit a recession, companies are likely to start laying off employees, which is why so many people worry about losing their jobs.
How to protect your career from stagnation
If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that change will happen. The best way to protect yourself from change is to adapt. You can do this by learning new skills, looking for ways to expand your current role, and preparing yourself financially. Doing these three moves now may put you in a good position if things go wrong.
1. Roll with punches
It’s not easy to keep smiling when you’re worried about the sky falling. But keep in mind that your colleagues and superiors may experience similar pressure, so try to remain cheerful and supportive of those around you. If you work remotely, consider dedicating more face time. It is much easier to connect with people when you are physically present.
Look for areas where you can take on additional responsibilities or demonstrate skills you don’t normally use. If your employer is laying off employees, it is in your best interest to be seen as indispensable. And if the company needs to reorganize, your flexibility and positive attitude may be rewarded.
2. Be ready for change
Make a plan B. Most things are less intimidating when you have a plan for how to deal with it. Take some time now to think about what you might do if you were laid off. Who will you communicate with? Who can give you good advice? What websites and other methods will you use to find a new job? If you are planning to move to a new job or even a new industry, plan the steps you need to take.
Get rid of your resume. Having a plan is closely related to having a work-ready resume. If writing a resume isn’t for you, you may get help from a career coach or career resume. Connect with your former colleagues and colleagues on sites like LinkedIn and find other ways to update your professional network.
Build an emergency fund. If you have the equivalent of three to six months of living expenses stashed in an emergency fund, you will be in a better position to deal with a job loss or other financial crisis. In fact, some financial experts like Suze Orman suggest raising 12 months’ worth of money. If we end up in a prolonged period of economic hardship, it may take time to find a new job. Give yourself that time by storing as much cash as possible in your emergency savings account.
3. Keep learning new skills
Many employers want people who are eager to learn, so look for relevant internship opportunities. You might try to improve skills specific to your role, or softer skills like communication and time management. There is a wealth of free or low cost courses available online. Upgrading your skills can help you find new opportunities, do your part better, and give you an edge if things go wrong.
If you are looking to change direction, find out what qualifications you may need and how you can obtain them. Some professions, such as medicine or therapy, require years of study and training. Others may suit people with different backgrounds, or allow you to focus on your existing knowledge. If you need a new qualification, think about how to obtain it and how you will support yourself financially as you learn.
The thought of losing your job during a recession can seem overwhelming. However, we are not in a recession yet, and the clouds of the economic storm may still be scattering. In the end, it makes sense to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Store as much cash as possible in your emergency savings and have a plan for how to handle the layoff.
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