I’m not an economist or a financial analyst, but I am convinced that we are heading for at the least a very serious recession and more likely a depression that is likely to last for many months. I am basing this belief on my decades of working to understand the consumer, both as an advertising man and as a psychotherapist. And my antenna are telling me that people are more scared than may be obvious right now; the economic outlook is exceptionally uncertain as is the outlook for people’s health. The mixed messaging coming from the administration and the wild swings of the financial markets are simply compounding the fear and uncertainty.
What this means for anyone questioning their career path is this: focus on buttressing your position at your current job, because layoffs are going to be inevitable at many organizations, and you want to exert every effort to make sure you’re not on the layoff list. Some particularly vulnerable industries/fields will be easy to identify: travel and tourism, restaurants, meeting planning, retail, culture and sports. The whole non-profit world will also probably see reductions is contributions as portfolios shrink in value, but those funded primarily through grants will be relatively immune.
How to strengthen your status at work? REENERGIZE YOURSELF so that you can do more; don’t focus on the negatives of your current situation. Go above and beyond. Be prepared to stay later. Figure out how you can add extra value. Put emphasis on cultivating positive relationships, particularly with higher-ups. And if you’re working remotely, don’t succumb to the temptation to slack off because you’re at home!
Does focusing on reinforcing your current status mean that you should halt exploration of alternative career paths or shut down your search for a new job? No, but recognize that in times of high economic uncertainty hiring will slow down, and employers will be reluctant to take a chance on bringing on board someone who doesn’t have an absolutely clear value proposition and record. Furthermore, if an organization needs to shed personnel new hires are the most likely to be let go. So tread carefully about moving in a new direction, and CYA at your current place of employment!