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10 Ways To Survive A Tight Labor Market

Aug 17, 2007
Even thought the job market has been good lately, you should keep in mind that it was not too long ago that things weren't quite so good. You should also remember that in the labor market, as with any market, downturns are inevitable. Hopefully, you won't wait for things to turn bad and then decide that it is time to do something. Better to have your strategy in place now. When the downturn comes, you'll be able to keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs!

Here are top ten ways to survive the tight labor market. You can change each point as necessary to fit your particular situation.

1. Become Indispensable: This is the first and foremost workplace survival rule, especially when the labor market is tight. When survival is the purpose, you can create your best chances when you make yourself and your position indispensable to your company. Hopefully you haven't waited until things became bad to do this. You become indispensable by being reliable, becoming a mentor or contributing to the company's bottom line (i.e. - sales), no matter what your job title is. Obtaining Six Sigma training is another way for you to position yourself as indispensable. Companies are highly reluctant to let someone go whose worth can be measured in $$$!

2. Gain The Competitive Advantage: As in a race, staying ahead of the competition is done by gaining an edge (any edge!), especially in unexpected situations. Now is not the time to be "Mr. Nice Guy". Hey, you are trying to survive here! How do you do this? You do this by grabbing opportunities, taking the initiative and leading from the front. No employer wants to lose an employee who is voluntarily willing to take on additional responsibilities. Fortunately for you, there are not that many people that fall into this category. Make sure that you are one of them.

3. Break Up Objectives Into Sub-Objectives: Breaking up your job objectives into what can be called sub-objectives helps you set realistic and more achievable targets. If this sends the right kind of signals to the right people in the organization, you will get noticed as you complete each one of them. This approach also gives you a psychological edge, as you will be keeping busy and accomplishing the goals of the company in general, and relative to your position specifically.

4. Make Things Happen: When things get tough concerning your job security, what you must understand in the first place is that nothing is going right for the company at the moment. In this case, the onus is on you to make contributions to make things work, especially in your department or division. at least those in your control dramatically changes their perceptions about you.

5. Assert Yourself: If you are not the first to go in your company, you will inevitably see things deteriorating around you. Offer your services (not a hollow suggestion) to contribute to improve the situation. Now is not the time to be shy! Don't hesitate to discuss your plan of action with your boss. This allows your boss to see both you and your skills in a different light, preferably a highly positive one.

6. Connect With Optimistic People: This keeps your morale and spirits high. Keeping negative thoughts at bay promotes creative and pragmatic thinking.

7. Prepare Yourself For Change: Even though it may be difficult, especially when it comes out of the blue, accept the inevitable. Don't pretend as if you are invincible. Being mentally prepared helps you to formulate your next step, without panicking.

8. Equip Yourself: Your next job hunt can be harder than surviving this unless you have developed required skills. Realize that you may have to upgrade your skills in order to find your next position. Don't start when you realize the ship is sinking, because it is too late then.

9. Explore All Avenues: Panicking can leave you in a worse position than almost anything else. Exploring different options is a must in this situation. Don't leave any stone unturned to find a replacement job, even if it means moving to a totally different line of work. What works is taking concrete steps and having a plan to improve your situation. What will not work is procrastinating and hoping for miracles.

10. Keep Your Composure: Above all, you must keep your composure and not panic. If you panic, then you can't think clearly. Having a viable plan in advance is the key to keeping your cool.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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