Is the US economy already in a recession?
Will the weakened US economy affect the global economy leading to a recession in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and perhaps other international markets?
Should you really care about a recession and how it will affect your career, job or income?
How About A Refresher Course On Recessions?
If you do not quite realize what a recession looks like, perhaps you can do with this refresher on the last recession to hit the US economy in 2001.
In the beginning, no one seemed to be quite sure that the recession was going to happen. Some pundits felt that the US economy will perhaps weaken but not really experience a full blown recession. Other experts felt that the economy was already in a recession. Then all of a sudden all the pundits and experts and news media outlets seemed to be screaming in unison, we are in a recession!
Fortune 500’s Laying Off Employees In The Thousands
Fortune 500 corporations where laying off employees in the thousands! There where daily announcements of job cuts leading to tens of thousands of full-time employees hitting the streets with their last pay check! Smaller businesses could not be out competed too! If you read your local newspaper, you will see the same daily roll call of local employers laying off workers.
No Jobs for Highly Skilled Workers
The recession got so bad, that even highly skilled and highly qualified employees with post graduate degrees couldn’t get jobs. The news media was awash with news on how the middle class and the white-collar workers could not even get job interviews.
Salary and Wage Cuts
Some of the fortunate white and blue collar workers who still had jobs after all the job cuts and layoff announcements, had to stand in line for salary cuts. Freezes on wage increases and benefits beame common. Vacationing was a taboo word and as if that wasn’t bad enough, the senior, experienced, highly-skilled workers where being offered an option between either working for entry-level wages or getting the dreaded pink slip.
Dog Eat Dog Market
I recall recruiters telling me horror stories of how they would put up a job advertisement and get 500 resumes of highly skilled and qualified people within 24 hours contrasted to how they used to get a few weak resumes per week for their job postings. The irony of the situation, was that the mailboxes of hiring managers and recruiters got filled up within hours of putting up a job posting. Hiring managers and recruiters who couldn’t deal with the flood of resumes literally had to abandon checking their voicemails and inboxes for other covert (black ops) methods of hiring.
An Employers Market
The job market situation worsened as those employers who could still hire, realized that they literally had the whole employment world at their fingertips. Then things got really ugly as employers start getting really picky about resumes, credentials, qualifications, experience, level of expertise and level of technical training of job applicants. I recall the horror story of a techie who had to contact about 10,000 employers to get 2 job interviews and one job offer.
How To Protect Yourself From The Next Recession
Hopefully, you get the picture now. The point of these horror stories is that, yes you should care about the ongoing debate between pundits and experts about whether the US economy is in the beginning or middle of a recession.
The big question is really “what should you do immediately to protect yourself and your loved ones from a national or perhaps global economic recession?“
Here are a few tips recession proofing your career:
Become A Highly Skilled Worker Now
In a recession, the unskilled technical worker is obviously more at risk than the skilled technical worker. While the highly skilled technical worker may get downsized to a lower paying job, the lesser skilled technical workers are the weakest in the tech food chain and are the ones most at risk of losing their jobs.
Take Your Technical Training Now
Now is the time to take your technical training and not in the middle of the recession when jobs are difficult to get. First, when you take as much technical training as you can, you reduce the chances that you will be laid off because technical training increases your competitiveness.
Also, it is much harder to pay for your technical training if you are laid off and in the middle of a job search than while you still have a job and an income. What typically happens to laid-off workers in a recession is that their first instinct is to cut down their expenses and cost of living including out-of-pocket training costs. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really help them because this is the time when they really need to be competitive.
Note: some employers get picky in a recession and will question your judgment by asking you why you waited until you where laid off to take your technical training seriously.
Polish Your Resume Now
Now is the time to take your resume and update it with all the latest and greatest technical skills (recruiter speak for cutting edge technology) . If you are in a computer programming career, now is the time to master the latest versions of the most popular software development languages (I have listed them in my “how to learn programming book“).
If you are a business analyst, now is the time to ensure that you have learnt and mastered full life cycle software development practices. Whether you a tester, project manager, quality assurance analyst, data analyst or database developer, now is the time to look outside the windows or confines of your day to day job and ask yourself the question, “what critical skills am i lacking on my resume?” or “how do I take my career to the next level?.”
For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, do whatever it takes to gain the critical, leading edge skills that you need to take your career to the next level and then put those skills, experience and training on your resume now, so you are not caught in the deadly grip of a recession.
Don’t forget to polish up your technical interviewing and job hunting skills and finally do whatever it takes to look after your employer or clients now and they will be more willing to look out for you when you need their help.
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About The Author
My name is Kingsley Tagbo and I?m a technical expert living in Saint Louis, Missouri. I write about the training, coaching, mentoring and personal development of software development professionals including business analysts, computer programmers, testers, project managers, web designers, data analysts, report writers, software developers and other information technology professionals .
My firm, Exacticity, performs software development consulting and training for clients throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. If you are in need of software development help or training, click here to contact me.