Recession-Proof Your Career This Autumn in 7 Simple Steps

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I wish I had a penny for every time I heard someone complaining about their job. I wish I had a pearl for every time I heard someone saying: “And here is what I am going to do about it.”

Employment is, in itself, a complex relationship with a system bigger than ourselves. As such, it’s very easy to give ourselves to that system – a bit like a child putting its fate in the hands of its parents because well, the child has no other choice.

Adults do have choices, though. And yet, many adults prefer to put their fates in the hands of their employers, hope for the best, and then complain when things don’t go their way.

This attitude can have fatal consequences, mainly during a market downturn.

Corporate structures change; strategies and priorities change; managers and team leaders change; role attributions and client portfolios change; ways of working and communication platforms change – and so on and so forth.

No one experiences these changes more dramatically than those on the fringes – those who have the least power and influence over the big picture, like the Central Eastern European subsidiaries of global conglomerates, their managers and their employees.

But this doesn’t mean that you are powerless.

To recession-proof your career and to make sure that you have real options on the table in case the wind turns, here are a handful of concrete steps that you can take right away.

  1. CLARIFY YOUR LONG-TERM PRIORITIES. What is it that you want to do and experience long term? If you were now 70 and this was your last day at work, what would you be glad that you have achieved? What would you like to leave behind? And what would you like to find at home – how did you manage to marry your life priorities with your career goals in a way that has been meaningful and serving for everyone involved? The thing is – for as long as you don’t have your long term priorities straight, it’s impossible to set up short and mid-term meaningful goals. Or, as Alice in the Wonderland would say: “If you don’t know where you are heading, it doesn’t matter what road you take.”
  2. MAKE A PLAN FOR THE NEXT 3, 6 AND 12 MONTHS. What are your concrete and specific goals for the next period? Cut the period into manageable chunks. Be as specific about your goals as possible.
  3. MAP YOUR STAKEHOLDERS. Who is truly important for your career and life well-being both short and long term? With whom should you develop nurturing relationships, so you know about each other, understand each other, and, if need be, are able to support each other?
  4. HAVE AN HONEST 1-1 TALK TO YOUR MANAGER. Ask your manager for a longer-than-usual individual development talk and ask them about their perspective on the next 12 months. Don’t hesitate to ask them how they prepare for the high tides ahead. Ask your boss what they advise you to do within the next period, to make sure that you come out of this downturn like a winner and in pole position for your next promotion.
  5. ASK FOR YOUR LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT BUDGET. It’s breaking my heart to see how many people suffer and are being pushed around in organizations because they fail to do one simple thing: to ask for development budget for themselves as part of their compensation package. I get it – we are in Europe and we are not so used to pay for our learning & development from our own pocket regardless of how much we earn per month. But learning & development is the best way, if not the only way, to boost your skills and self-awareness while you are still on the shore. If you want to learn how to sail when you are on open waters, this might prove to be a fatal strategy for many careers.
  6. REVISIT YOUR VALUE ON THE MARKET. Make sure that you keep a close finger on the pulse of your value on the labor market. With record inflation, not all companies have managed to align salary policies with the realities of the market. By talking to your peers, within your organization or outside of it, by engaging with a handful of astute headhunters, and by keeping an eye on job servers and their salary offers you can reassess where you stand and you can start identifying new, juicy and better options for your future.
  7. BECOME INTENTIONALLY VISIBLE. Reach out to people – not only via emails, chat or SMS, but with means that bring you closer to the people – like audio or video. As often as possible work with your camera on when working remotely, so people can connect your face with your name and remember you with ease. Nurture your reputation and your personal brand at every step – ultimately, it is your personal brand that will open the door way before you step in into your next job interview.

Curious about how to recession-proof your career by becoming intentionally visible and influential? My flagship online course of strategic personal branding for career and leadership growth VISIBILITY. INFLUENCE. POWER starts this October.

Book a short 30-minute call with me directly to discuss if you may be a fit for this program. No strings attached – and more, I promise you will come out of this talk inspired, uplifted, and with renewed will to take charge of your career growth.

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