This week I discovered that 15 bread-winners have lost their jobs in the last week. They all attend my church. An announcement was made in class asking us to notify the church of any job openings that could be forwarded to these folks who are now unemployed.
The article reports that in January 2008, the job market shrank by 17,000 jobs. This is not a lot relative to the total number of jobs in the U.S., but it may indicate we are truly headed into a recession.
Which leads me to ask the question: What is your contingency plan in case you lose your job?
For anybody who has debt and loses his job, a $1,000 emergency fund probably isn’t going to cut it. You’ll burn through that in a week or two. And collecting unemployment isn’t really a contingency plan either.
Here’s what I recommend: Develop marketable skills.
What interests do you have? What skills can you develop that are easily marketable?
While I was employed, I continually thought about what I would do if I was laid off or lost my job. Which is why I practiced my copywriting skills quite a bit in my spare time even though I was employed. I figured if I lost my job, I would be able to become a copywriter at another company or even go freelance.
As it turns out, I became a freelance copywriter, which is what I still do to this day.
Another option I had filed in the back of my mind was going to work for a car dealership. I figured it would be easy to get a job there and it would have a good earning potential, especially since I have some experience in sales and marketing.
Other skills that are highly marketable besides copywriting are: selling, marketing, and anything that has to do with growing a business.
In a recession, companies want to know what they can do to grow… to start moving in the right direction again. If you are a person who can spark this growth, then you will be in demand.
I’m sure there are other practical skills that are in demand like accounting, supply chain management, computer networking, etc. But I don’t have any experience in these areas.
The point is, work on improving you so you will be more valuable to the company you currently work for, as well as companies you might work for. In this way, you can insulate yourself against the effects of a recession and a possible job layoff.
Besides focusing on tangible skills, don’t forget to focus on intangible skills as well. For instance, your leadership ability, your attitude, and your influence with others.
Personally, I have purchased and listened to many audio programs from Nightingale-Conant. They specialize in creating personal development programs about almost every subject you can think of. Some of my favorite programs are by Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy.
If you are currently employed, I suggest you spend time working on both your tangible and intangible skills. That way you’ll have an edge over other employees if you are forced to look for another job. If you get an audio program from Nightingale-Conant, you can listen to it every day on your drive to and from work.
And, as always, reduce your debt as much as possible right now, while you have a job, so you aren’t in crisis mode should something unexpected happen–a job loss, pay cut, economic recession, medical emergency, etc.