Taking in all the early signals, it seems that 2009 will be a challenging one for just about everyone engaged in professional employment. The miscalculations of the banks have placed a constriction on the economy that has squeezed and created negative ramifications in almost every sector, whilst the ripples of impact will reach even the most conservative and prudent of shores. So how does a UK professional begin to approach a year billed as likely to be one of the worst in living memory? Below are some thoughts on how to avoid the threats and create the opportunities this year:
Winners and Losers
Within any downturn, as within any other commercial scenario, there will always be comparative winners and losers. Whilst it may currently seem that everyone is experiencing problems, resourceful businesses and individuals will always manage to find ways to prosper and refine their approaches to great effect. Just because the threats of the economic downturn are writ large in each day’s headlines, it does not mean that there ceases to be a great many opportunities around for those that know where to look. A positive, focused attitude, coupled with the right professional support, could ensure that you finish the year a relative winner.
Realistic, not resigned
When there is so much negative news about, it is very easy to become dejected and resigned to the circumstances around you, without ever really assessing what you might do to counter them. Often it is apathy, whether self imposed or currently experienced en masse within your place of employment, that can hold us all back. There is no denying that 2009 will be tough, and if you are looking for a career move, it will be beneficial to research the outlook and the pressures individual industries and sectors face prior to any approach. A good, specialist recruitment consultancy can assist with this knowledge and, provided you are prepared to go the extra mile, interesting opportunities can and will emerge.
Keeping your job
Probably the safest method of weathering this particular storm is to stay employed and take steps to increase your value to your employer. This may be achieved by taking on extra responsibilities within the workplace, by taking a proactive approach to increasing revenue or creating other benefits to your employer. Within the current economic context, it will be important to be seen to be directly contributing to your company’s core business model, as developmental or otherwise peripheral work may be put on hold, or even axed. By ploughing energy into core areas of the business, you will demonstrate that you are part of the solution.
Changing your job
Very often people use periods of negative commercial outlook to revaluate their priorities and career aspirations, the psychology being that it will be a period of change anyway, so why not put it to constructive use? Despite the well-publicised redundancies, the less reported truth is that there are still a substantial number of interesting and rewarding roles being offered across professional sectors. The short and medium term difference this year however will be an increase in the amount of people applying for these roles, and this will place an onus on each candidate to really impress.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Whether you choose to stay within your current role, or have reason to look for alternative employment, it pays to have a regular feel for the events and challenges that are shaping your industry. Different industries are affected by different things during a recession, dependent on the types of business models and cost bases that they use, although it is fair to say that demand will drop within many. Talk to other professionals within your sector, and also recruitment consultancies that specialise in your field, and you will have a clearer view of the overall picture, and can base any future steps upon this.
Learn to cycle
One of the few benefits of getting older is that one begins to appreciate that the world works in cycles, both great and small, and that it is the friction and trajectory of these cycles that give economies their momentum. As the curve of this recession becomes flatter during 2009, there will be signs that things have bottomed out, and a slow and gradual uplift will occur. Just as Spring follows Winter, the UK economy will emerge from its own rubble and strengthen, fuelled by dynamic businesses, both established and newly created. Once you recognise these trends, it becomes easier to plan ahead for both short and long term career aspirations.