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HOME::Career & Employment

Top 7 Survival Tips to Deal with Downsizing in the New Economy

By Dennis Kwan

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A recent report had mentioned that, 12,000 workers are expected to lose their jobs this year. Companies are freezing wages and stopping recruitment. All signs point to an increasingly unwelcome economic outlook in the coming months.

With the recent downfall of some big banking players, the employment industries are in some kind of turmoil. The fact is that, slowdown or not, companies have to keep on peeling lower-skilled staff as they restructure up the value chain to be competitive. Facing a layoff is fast becoming more and more a real prospect for many workers. In this new and unpredictable job market, job security has gone the way of the dodo.

To keep your job, you need to work smart not work hard. You will need to do whatever it takes to make sure you are crucial to your company. But also have a plan, in case somebody thinks you are not so crucial or efficient.

Here are some suggestions to help you avoid becoming a victim of downsizing and increase your career advancement potential.

  1. Keep your eyes and ears open.

    Be aware of whatís happening in your company. Hiring freezes, early retirements and other signs of what is called managed abrasion are indications that your company is extremely serious about head count. Look for other warning signs. How are the company shares doing? Remember, while downsizing may be a bad word for workers, investors like it as it shows the management is cutting costs. Also keep up with possible mergers involving your company. Look for when a merger is going to happen. When a merger happens, it is good news for the company and bad news for half the employees.

  2. Realize that it can happen to you.

    It is amazing how many people just sit back and wait for the ax to fall. They did not see it approaching and did not have time to prepare for change. Many people assume itís never going to happen to them because of their long service and value to the company. Make sure you donít fall into the trap of thinking it could never happen to you; or else you could end up being unprepared to survive economically or professionally. Remember, no matter how much your boss may like you; ultimately what matters is the bottom line.

  3. Always be looking for new opportunities.

    Never just sit quietly and tranquility. You are in charge of your own career. Regardless of how secure you may be in your job, you always need to be prepared to look for work in a volatile business climate. Even when you are working, you should stay abreast of the job market. Now is the perfect time to do some research. Keep reading the wanted ads in your field. Look for jobs in your field and see if the requirements listed are skills you possess. Take time to network and take on some informational interviews, if you hear of any. Make contacts with headhunters. Better still, sign up for online services that will keep you informed of new job opportunities, at no cost at all.

  4. Always keep on learning and updating your skills.

    A well-known professor; says only three things matter in the New Economy: Skills, Skills and Skills! The skills you have today may not be needed in a few years-or even a few months-so start now to learn new ones. Take advantage of your companyís training programs or the many programmes funded by your local government agencies, external service providers.

  5. Always have a backup plan.

    You may consider starting your own part-time businesses during your full time employment. In a way, you are building a safety net to safeguard yourself if anything really happens to you. While working, you can also seek your company to send you for courses. Not only you are able to upgrade your skills, on the other hand, you are also there to build your part-time business network.

  6. Financial Situations.

    If the worse happens, and you do lose your job in a retrenchment or restructure exercise, one of the first things you need to do is to examine your financial situation. Look at your resources and expenses. Check your contract to make sure you get your benefits.

  7. Always keep your resume ready and fresh.

    Always document your work and achievements because youíll forget how significant most of your work is. Have them both in hard and soft-copy. Many online job sites, in fact, will allow you to store; edit and forward your resume to prospective employers.

Dennis Kwan is an author, speaker, trainer, a volunteer at Changi prison and also a Master Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Practitioner. For more information, visit


Article Submitted On: September 27, 2008