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How to Increase Job Security and Boost Your Career Confidence
Are you worried about losing your job? Here are some tips to help you cope with job loss anxiety, increase your job security, and improve your long-term career prospects no matter what happens.
If the high-rate of unemployment in your community or job sector has you worried, the best thing you can do is get prepared financially, emotionally, and professionally.
- Being financially prepared means having a solid savings and debt-reduction strategy in place while you still have a job, so that in the event that you get laid-off or fired, you’ll be able to take care of your family’s needs for at least a few months.
- Being emotionally prepared means cultivating a strong sense of self-worth. Being resilient in the face of loss means that you know that no matter what happens, you’ll be able to handle it.
- And finally, being professionally prepared in a turbulent economy means that you are always building your network and strengthening your job skills.
Here are some tips to help you cope with unemployment anxiety, increase your job security, and improve your long-term career prospects, no matter what happens.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Sometimes your best defense against job loss is being able to recognize the warning signs that things are changing. For example, if you notice that your boss is giving you less and less work, that could be a sign that he is getting ready to let you go. After all, if he’s going to terminate you, why give you work that's just going to be transferred to someone else? To learn more about some of the common signs that indicate you might be laid off, check out the news report below.
Here are some more telltale signs that now's the time to act in order to secure your job prospects:
- Other divisions or branches of your company have closed down.
- No one has had a cost of living increase or a raise in quite awhile.
- Special staff events have been cancelled or pared down.
- Your client accounts file has gotten smaller and smaller.
- You notice professional looking people coming and going without ever being introduced to staff. (These could be bankers, lawyers, accountants, or human resources consultants that are looking at ways to wind down the company, lay people off, or avoid bankruptcy.
- You or some of your co-workers have been offered early retirement packages.
- You have seen news reports and read articles about your company that don't paint a very bright future.
- Your industry colleagues and peers have been talking about your company, and not in a good way.
If you are noticing any of these signs around your workplace, don't panic. There are things that you can do to increase the chances that you'll keep your job.
Signs of Pending Job Loss
Express gratitude. When was the last time you realized how grateful you were to still have a job? Even if you know that you’re on shaky ground in terms of job security, you can still be grateful for the face that you are currently still employed. Even if you are in a lousy work situation, you can always find something to be thankful for every day.
Why does being grateful increase your job security? Because you project a naturally optimistic outlook when you are grateful. You can’t be grateful while grumbling about how bad things are at the same time. In a tight job market when everyone is stressed out, you calm, cool demeanor will make you stand out.
Work hard and be indispensable. Now is not the time to be goofing off. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and show your boss how valuable you are. Always show up early, and be the last to leave each night. If you're worried about how such a schedule will impact your family time, have an honest conversation with your spouse and tell him/her that the extra hours you're going to be putting in are helping to secure your family’s financial future in the middle of a slowing economy. And while it's important to work hard, make sure that you're nourishing your body and exercising regularly. You’ll need the extra energy that comes from healthy choices in order give it your all at work.
Here’s an extra job security tip: If you smoke, quit now. Employees who smoke can, and do, often cost employers money. Those frequent 5 – 10 minute smoke breaks that smokers take can eat into the bottom line, and fuel resentment among non-smokers who don’t have an excuse to leave their desk every 90 minutes. Besides making you healthier, quitting smoking will also save you money—money that you’ll need in order to pad your rainy day/ emergency fund.
How worried are you about losing your job?
Do a self-evaluation. When was the last time you took a good look at your resume? Is it up-to-date? Make sure it accurately reflects your current job skills, work experience and professional development. Make sure that your resume notes any recent achievements or awards you have received. Spend some time on networking sites for job-seekers, employment boards, and other places where you can assess skills are needed in the work. If you notice that employers are looking for certain skills that you don’t have right now, consider taking a night course or join a professional association to help boost your skills and your career confidence.
Be a good corporate citizen. Volunteer in the community and help boost your employer’s positive profile in the community. Lead a committee of your co-workers in completing a worthwhile, hands-on charitable project. When you make your company look good, you look good! The added bonus of being a do-good, community minded employee is that you'll boost your self-confidence. Giving back to others is a great way to uplift your mood and remind you of how many things you have to be thankful for.
Stash your cash. Even if you don’t think you need to worry about your job security right now, lean living the smart way to go if you want to boost your confidence at work and at home. By saving your money and creating a contingency fund, you’ll be able to sleep easier knowing that you have a back-up plan in the event you suddenly find yourself out of a job.
Practice the art of abundantly simple living. Lean living is also good for your self-esteem because it challenges you to give up materialistic habits and focus on more heart-centered activities such as spending quality time with your family or enjoying the outdoors. A material lifestyle, on the other hand, makes you focus on all the things you don’t have. You are constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses. When you live like that, of course you’d be worried about what would happen if you lost your job; you’d have no money to buy all those consumer items you think define you as a successful person. But when you live simply, and focus on experiences, rather than things, you will grow more and more confident that your world wouldn’t fall apart if you lost your job. In fact, you might even come to think of job loss as an unexpected opportunity that changes your life in many positive and surprising ways!
© 2014 Sally Hayes