Protecting your livelihood in an uncertain market is critical to your future success. So many factors affect the job market: generational demographics, laws/regulations, politics, interest rates, inflation, supply and demand, unemployment levels, automation, and – something that we did not predict – the COVID pandemic, which left an indelible mark on the job market.
Most of us have no control over these macro-economic factors. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to have a long working career, you will live and work through several similar cycles (hopefully without another pandemic!).
While some cycles will result in an abundance of opportunities, still others may see opportunities dry up.
We can try to learn from history, and we can try to predict the future. In my experience, though, hindsight is 20/20.
So, what can we do to protect our livelihood? Plenty!
Here are a few that I think are important, whether you are very early in your career or you have been working for many years:
Understand Change Will Happen
Understand and accept that change will happen. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s how we progress.
Very few people are performing the same job, in the same way, as when they started working. Think about the future and how it might impact you.
Learn as Much as You Can
The more you learn and the more you’re exposed to, the more valuable you will be. You don’t necessarily have to go back to school…just keep learning.
Keep reading. Keep talking to other people in your company, in your industry, and in your networks. Be on the lookout for ways that you can increase your knowledge.
Build a Network
Speaking of networks – this is something that can be a regular part of your life.
Networks are not something you turn on when you need to find a job or are seeking support. Solid networks start by connecting with friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
Stay in touch with people. Help out when you can. Sometimes, just lending an ear or sharing a cup of coffee once in a while is all it takes to build wonderful connections with people that you may be able to reach out to for support when needed.
Know Your Value Proposition
Do you “bring it” every day? What is your employer getting in return for what they pay you?
It might sound strange, but this is a great mental exercise to make sure you feel like you are consistently working on the “highest and best” use of your time.
We all get sidetracked and lose focus – it happens. Ask yourself periodically if you would hire “you”.
Have a Plan B
What would happen if you got laid off next week?
Build up some savings. Keep your resume updated. Build a plan that makes sense for you.
Can you support yourself on unemployment and some savings? Would you be willing to work contract, until you find your next great opportunity (contract jobs often lead to permanent opportunities)?
The best way to prepare for the future is to have your house in order and manage your own career. This will give you the confidence to weather whatever rocky seas may come through, whether via the economy or the ups and downs of the job market.
What are some ideas that you can share that have proved successful for you?
About the Author: Lori Crimmins – Owner & President, TalentBridge Network
Lori Crimmins brings more than 30 years of experience in Human Resource Leadership to her role as Owner and President of TalentBridge Network. She is focused on strategically aligning Human Resources with the future growth and direction of TalentBridge and TalentBridge Network. Lori formerly held Human Resources Management positions at Klein Steel, Sentry Safe, Concentrix, The Doyle Group, and First Federal Savings and Loan. Lori is a certified Human Capital Coach and a certified DISC Behavioral Analyst.