Are You Ready for a Recession? 6 Ways You Can Prepare

Applying for a job during a recession presents its own special challenges, but an economic slowdown can be a scary time even if you already have a job. The truth is,

there are only so much control you have as an individual worker over the course of events in your office, such as potential layoffs or a reduction in hours. That’s why it’s important to focus on the things you do have control over.


1. Be flexible

If you suddenly find your boss asking you to take on different roles, transfer to a different team, or shift to an alternative project, now is not the time to raise a fuss. It’s likely these shifts are occurring in order to move you to higher priority objectives. That means you should use the change as an opportunity to demonstrate your versatility—a skill that will likely be remembered further down the road if or when cuts must be made.

2. Update your resume

This isn’t exactly cheerful advice, but it is necessary: Now more than ever, keep your resume updated so you’re able to submit it at a moment’s notice. As people working in the tech industry found out the hard way recently, massive waves of layoffs in a particular sector are not unheard of during a recession. And while you can’t prevent the layoffs from happening, having an updated resume can help you get a jump on job searching if it does occur.

3. Don’t forget about debt

On the financial side of things, make sure you’re paying off high interest debt above all else. According to Marguerita Cheng, a certified financial planner and founder/CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth who spoke to Time magazine, people should focus on paying off “variable rate debt, like credit card debt.” While it may be tempting to put off paying, doing so will greatly lessen your financial burden in the long run—and especially during an uncertain job market.

4. Now is the time to budget

If budgeting was never really your thing, now is the time to make it your thing. There are countless free online sources to help you get your finances in order, so you don’t have to worry as much about how you’re going to cover your monthly bills. See where you can trim down and start doing it now. Then use that money to create (or pad) an emergency fund to use further down the road when unexpected expenses arise.

5. Don’t sacrifice retirement

It can be extremely tempting as a recession looms to cut out your monthly contributions to your retirement account—or even worse, to tap into your retirement account for some “extra” cash. But, if at all possible, keep investing a steady amount and don’t take a huge financial penalty now to access any of it. If it really doesn’t look like you can keep going with your retirement planning, Forbes advises talking to a financial professional to see what tweaks can be made to give you some breathing room.

6. Refresh your skills

It’s never too late to learn, so look for opportunities to grow your repertoire. Finesse hard skills by earning certain certifications or attending workshops to get additional training. But don’t neglect the “soft” skills that employers love, such as communication and critical thinking. There are plenty of free online resources to help you get started at your own pace.

There are numerous ways to help prepare yourself and your career for an inevitable economic and financial downturn. The number one rule is not to panic—even if you can’t control whether or not you get laid off or get your hours at work cut, you can control certain things in your life that will help cushion you and your family if that blow should occur. Stay calm, focus on the here and now, and you’ll get through whatever a recession might throw your way.

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