The only thing more stressful than a pandemic is the looming recession that will likely come with it. In December 2019, FinanceBuzz surveyed more than 1,000 Americans to find out whether they were concerned about an upcoming recession — 52% said yes. Last month, we asked again, and an overwhelming 72% said they were fearful of an imminent recession and what it might mean for their financial well-being.
If you’re starting to worry about what this economic downturn means for you and your job security, you’re not alone. In the past six weeks, roughly 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment. This is projected to be one of the highest rates of job loss since the Great Depression.
If you’re fortunate enough to be working right now, you might be wondering what steps you can take to improve your job security. Fortunately, there are some things you can do right now to feel more secure in your current role.
Although most things about a recession might be outside of your control, you do have power over your work performance and how that relates to your own job security. Here are eight ways to be proactive about feeling more secure at work.
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1. Get involved
If you aren’t currently involved in any company extracurriculars, now might be a good time to start. What do we mean by that? Essentially anything and everything that might be deemed going above and beyond in your workplace.
Examples of this could include things such as attending informal meetings, volunteering your time, or even offering up skills and expertise to other team members in need of extra support. Not only will doing these things make you feel better in your current role, but it also shows your employer that you’re invested and willing to go the extra mile to help the company succeed.
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2. Offer guidance or solutions
Although team morale might be low with all that’s going on in the world, you can lend a helping hand by offering up solutions, rather than dwelling on problems.
In order to stay profitable, companies need their employees to adapt quickly and modify strategies with the times. If your manager or team members are facing a complex problem, try to help them come up with a solution. Having this kind of positive, go-getter attitude will inspire confidence in those around you and make you stand out as a problem-solver — a valuable skill in the eyes of every employer.
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3. Motivate your team
Another way to keep morale high and stand out as a voice of positivity is to take the lead in motivating your teammates. Changes in work processes and daily dynamics can be very disruptive. Make a conscious effort to keep people motivated in light of these obstacles.
Try planning a Zoom happy hour; get creative with Zoom backgrounds for meetings; or organize another virtual team-building activity. At the very least, reach out to your team members and see how they’re doing. Checking in on people lets them know you care and allows them to voice their concerns privately. Doing this regularly might be the difference between team members who feel heard and empowered, versus ones who feel left to deal with their problems alone. Make people feel important individually, and they’ll be much more likely to work well together as a team.
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4. Focus on the positive
It’s way too easy to get bogged down in the negative right now. This is especially true if you’re living in a community that was hit hard by the pandemic or unemployment. But being positive, particularly at work, will always serve you well in the long run. Big changes make people feel insecure, and they’ll be looking around to the reactions of others to gauge their own feelings and responses. Make an effort to stay positive, and you’ll inspire others to do the same.
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5. Acquire new skills
It’s never a bad time to learn something new. But during times of uncertainty? It might be the most important time to expand your horizons. The more you have to offer your employer, the more secure you’ll feel in your role.
See a team member struggling to manage their workload? Offer to help. Is there a project you’ve been wanting to tackle for months now? Now’s the time to get started. It might sound like a fortune cookie, but if you can prioritize growth during this time — you’ll be rewarded later on.
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6. Get things done
Don’t let the current mood affect your motivation. Now more than ever is the time to thrive when it comes to managing your workload and getting things done. Don’t let yourself fall behind, and if you feel comfortable doing so, try to take on more. Become your manager’s go-to person when they need something done. If you make yourself valuable in the eyes of your employer, you’ll increase your feelings of job security.
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7. Help generate revenue
Depending on your current role and skill set, you might be seeing something that others aren’t. If there are creative solutions that can help your company earn more revenue right now, work with your team to make those things happen. Similarly, if you see gaps in knowledge that you can fill with your team members, consider doing so.
For example, you might be working in a marketing role but formerly headed up a sales team. Gather up your colleagues for an inter-departmental brainstorming session to try and come up with solutions that will help your company thrive. Taking this kind of initiative will not only show your employer you care, but it will also make everyone around you feel better about improving the company’s chances of success.
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8. Keep your resume in tip-top shape (just in case)
Although it’s never a fun thing to think about, during times of economic uncertainty, you’ll want to ensure your resume is updated and ready. Although you might be doing everything you can to make yourself indispensable to your employer, many companies are struggling, and job loss may be unavoidable.
Be proactive about updating your resume and LinkedIn profile before you actually need them. That way, recruiters will be able to see the full extent of your experience if and when you start looking for new opportunities. It’s also a good time to start networking. Reach out to past colleagues and professionals in your field, and consider attending some virtual events to connect with others.
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The bottom line
Everyone handles times of stress and financial uncertainty differently. And although your main quarantine buddies might consist of your unimpressed cat or mute houseplants, that doesn’t mean you’re alone. Reach out to people who care about you and get the support you need to keep bringing your all to the workplace.
Everything might feel difficult right now, but if you can prioritize taking care of yourself (and your mental well-being) you’ll be able to spread that positivity to others — which can only help when it comes to feeling more secure at work and otherwise.
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