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Recessions are inevitable in the great scope of economic history.  The next downturn is on its way.  That is a certainty.  So now is the time to prepare your career for a potential disruption. 

The last recession from December 2007 to June of 2009, was the worst since the economic crisis of 1929.  Unemployment jumped to 10 percent.  

It has been 10 years since that severe economic nightmare ended, an event that some said was only days or weeks away from cascading into a deep economic depression.

When will the next recession occur?  No one knows for sure.  If you look to economic trends as a predictor some economists would argue we are overdue by 4.5 years.  But right now, aside from a few layoffs here and there, the economy is chugging along just fine.  There are some financial prognosticators, those with a decidedly political agenda to defend, who argue that the current economic growth, owing to the corporate tax cuts, can go on indefinitely, which is never the case. So, forget that wishful thinking. 

The key question is not when the next recession will arrive but what can you do professionally to minimize the risks of a layoff or, if one comes your way, how you can accelerate your search for a new, better position.

The key question is not when the next recession will arrive but what can you do professionally to minimize the risks of a layoff or, if one comes your way, how you can accelerate your search for a new, better position.

Here are some practical steps that you can undertake now:

  • Get your resume up to date. Do it now while you have access to financial and operational records that will strengthen documentation of your accomplishments
  • Complete any pending professional certifications or fellowship credentials.  Now is the time.  When decisions are made on who to keep and who to lay off, qualifications/credentials can sometimes make a difference, based on my experience
  • Focus on your performance today. Make your numbers.  Top performers always have an advantage
  • Take a chance.   Volunteer for a project that others have avoided.  Leading a team that is successful when others were skeptical can be a powerful feather in your cap.  But do not let your ego overwhelm your better judgment.  A failure would not be helpful at layoff time
  • Begin building your strategic network.  I refer to this approach as building a network within a network.  Identify companies which you would like to work for and connect with the CEO.  Then look for other key executives with the company with whom you can connect and build a relationship. This is hard work and takes time.  If you have already lost your job, this otherwise beneficial strategy will probably not meet your immediate needs.  
  • Hire a career transition coach, now while you still have a steady income.  If you have not been in the job market in the last five years, you may be in for a bone-rattling shock.  Things have changed – dramatically.  Hire someone who understands the dynamics and can help you get ready for a challenging job search.  Waiting to see if the axe is going to fall is a bad decision

The longer it takes for the downturn to begin, the better positioned you will be to navigate through any havoc that might occur.  

Do not make the mistakes that hundreds of thousands of executives made in 2006 and 2007 wait for the first signs of a slowdown to get prepared for a possible job search.

Interviewing Skills Course Planned for ACHE Congress

Join Chrishonda Smith, CCDP, SHRM of OhioHealth and John G Self, an author, blogger and executive career transition coach, for a dynamic MASTER COURSE on interviewing skills at the American College Healthcare Congress in Chicago, March 23- 26.  This is one of the more popular and highly rated sessions of the Congress The session is at 2:15 PM on Wednesday, March 25.