Career Guide

How to Thrive in the Midst of a Dismal Economy

[Part IV of IV]

Let’s face it, the going has gotten tough. That means the tough — YOU — need to get going on accelerating your career. Here’s how to identify opportunities despite the difficulties all around us:

  1. Get plenty of rest and eat right. Your Mom knew best. Especially in times of stress, it’s critical to take care of yourself. This is no time to pull all-nighters worrying about work. You need your wits and capabilities fully about you to withstand the challenges surrounding you.
  2.  Seek cross-functional experiences. I’ve noticed an interesting trend in my management consulting.  Employees who have a wide variety of experiences are most likely to survive the job cuts and even thrive in the midst of the turmoil. It makes sense — if you have experience working in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in the consumer packaged goods business, you’re twice as marketable.
  3. Stretch. Do things faster. And better. Be indispensable. I recently heard of a law firm intern who really stretched when a feisty senior partner demanded that she edit a nasty-looking, lengthy report — easily a two-week process. “When can you have it done?” he demanded. “How about tomorrow?” she replied. Today that intern is a leader in the firm, thanks to the support of that senior partner she helped years ago.�
  4. Get out of your comfort zone. Drastic times call for drastic measures when it comes to standing out within your organization. That old adage, “Just stay off the boss’ radar,” couldn’t be more wrong right now. This is the time to try things you haven’t done before and be willing to take prudent risks. 
  5. Network positively. People like to be around others who make them feel good. Contact the folks in your professional network and offer support. Thank people and acknowledge their contributions. If you reach out with a positive message, you’ll find others reaching back — and you never know just where that might lead! 

By Jenny Schade, president, JRS Consulting. JRS Consulting helps organizations dramatically increase attraction among customers and employees. Jenny Schade has interviewed more than 1,000 employees while guiding organizations through turbulent change. Get more tips from the free JRS newsletter.

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