More pink slips are on the horizon, according to outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. It predicts 1 million more job cuts in 2009.
While you can’t control the job market, you can control the impact you make at work every day.
“It’s important for your own survival to do what you can, as opposed to backing into a corner and waiting for the ax to fall,” says Deb Bright, a longtime executive coach, of Bright Enterprises (www.drbright.com).
She suggests trying these 10 steps:
1. Set 30-day and 60-day goals. Share them with your boss, and tell him or her when you hit them. Not only will it keep you upbeat, but in practical terms, your boss needs to know what his department is accomplishing, so he has ammunition if someone wants to chop it in half.
2. Check negative feelings at the door. “A pessimistic, bleak attitude makes it hard for people to work with you,” Bright says.
3. Nurture your network. Tip: Make a list of five people you want to stay in touch with, and make a plan for doing it.
4. Stay up-to-the-minute informed on your industry and current with your skills. “Take a class, read a book, keep up with trade publications,” Bright says.
5. Align your work with the company’s goals. Take on as many responsibilities as you can, “especially the tasks no one else wants,” Bright suggests.
6. Put off work/life balance, at least for now. “Having time for outside interests has to go right out the window now,” says Bright. “You need to concentrate on doing whatever it takes to make yourself indispensable.”
7. Make a budget and stick to it. Give yourself the resources to survive through a seven- or eight-month job hunt.
8. Never bad-mouth anyone. Be positive toward people at work, or at least neutral. “In the next reorganization,” she says, “the person you were trash-talking could be your new boss, and then you’re gone.”
9. Create successes for yourself. “Just getting to the gym and working out when you didn’t feel like it will do,” says Bright. “When there’s a lot of negativity around, you need to find ways to feel successful.”
10. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat right and exercise. If you have to go back out on the market and sell yourself, you’ll need to look and feel your best.
— Adapted from “Keep your job: A 10-point survival guide,” Annie Fisher, Fortune.