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What If You Lose Your Job? - (SA Woman)

Have you noticed a new anxiety running through your workplace these days?  With all the mergers, acquisitions and downsizings going on, you may have a gnawing fear that you could lose your job any day now.  And whether you’re a senior executive or the lowest-paid employee, you know you’re not immune from this worry.  The uncertainty is rampant. So what do you do?  The answer is: While hoping for the best, prepare for the worst!  There are four concrete steps you can take that will help you contain your anxiety and be in a better position should your worst fears come true.

First, begin preparing a resume for yourself.  Yes, for yourself!  A generic resume` no longer works so every resume` you’ll actually send out needs to be customized toward a specific job position. 

The reason you want to create a resume for yourself is so you have your entire work history and accomplishments handy, including dates.  This document is for your eyes only, but will serve several purposes:

You will force yourself to think about activities and work you’ve done that you might not have thought about in many years;
You’ll have everything handy so that you can pick and choose appropriate entries as you create your customized resume` for a specific job;
You’ll have a great document to review before you go to a job interview—a confidence booster as well as a tool to keep your work history fresh in your mind. 

List your work history including companies, positions, supervisors, job responsibilities (including number and titles of people supervised and any quantification of areas of responsibility) and reasons for leaving.Then list your accomplishments for each job position you held.  These would include specific estimates related to sales, effect on the company’s bottom line and/or cost savings given in numbers, percentages or dollars.   Aim for a minimum of three accomplishments per job. Be sure you make a distinction between experience and accomplishments.  The statement that you were a corporate trainer for two years lists experience; to say that you were a corporate trainer who taught 15,000 people Microsoft certification skills over a two-year time period is an accomplishment.  Likewise, saying you created a marketing plan tells something about your experience; saying you created a marketing plan that resulted in a 23% increase in product sales lists an accomplishment.What if you worked your way through college as a waitress in a restaurant?  Perhaps you were voted “best server” of the month, averaged the highest tips per quarter or had 14 letters written to the management by happy customers whom you served in a two-year time period.  Maybe you were the one waiter that never received any customer complaints.  These are all accomplishments. Although quantifying accomplishments is fairly easy in sales, it can be difficult in other types of jobs. 

Think in terms of time or money saved or of the dollar value of clients you brought into the business.  For any initiative that you started, what was the quantifiable result for the company?  Then list managerial and/or technical recommendations you made during your career, again quantifying the results whenever possible.  Write down your lateral transfers and promotions as well as any awards or honors you received.  Don’t overlook special assignments or projects, even though they may have been brief.   List publications, books or reports you either wrote or supervised/edited as well as inventions, copyrights, etc.   Point out the special significance of these, if appropriate.   Do you have other qualifications unrelated to work?  Foreign languages?  Special licenses or certifications?  List them.  Write down your hobbies and recreational pursuits.  Finally, list your educational history including schools, degrees, special courses and programs, continuing education or any other type of professional training.Now you’ve created a thorough document that you can pull information from when writing letters or resumes.  And having gone to the trouble to quantify several accomplishments from each job you held will serve you well in selling yourself to a prospective employer--whether it be in writing or during an interview.   Most important, all you have to do is keep this document current; you’ll never have to go through this process again! The second concrete step you can take that will help keep your job-loss anxiety in check is to begin networking.  Truth is, the vast majority of jobs today are found from your own personal contacts.  That means not only people you’ve worked for and with in the past, but new people who you will find in organizations, chambers of commerce, trade associations, non-profit groups, through volunteer work, etc. Third, take a hard look at your finances.  Do you have reserves?  Where would you get money for expenses if you lost your job?  What expenses could you cut?  ?  This is an ideal time to begin doing some budget re-assessment and getting on a path to financial security.  Figuring out how you would manage financially if you lost your job may be unpleasant—but once you’ve done so there’s a sense of calm from knowing how you could make ends meet if you had to. The last step in managing your anxiety about possibly losing your job involves keeping up with new trends and issues in your industry.  Read your industry literature.  Some continuing education may be helpful.  The point is, you want to be able to present yourself in the best light given the competition you’re likely to face in a job search.

Taking these four steps will not totally eliminate your anxiety about losing your job—but you’ll be calmer because you’ll know you are prepared for the worst case scenario.

Judi Craig, Ph.D., MCC   13620 NW Military Hwy., Ste. 202-2   San Antonio, TX  78231.   210-824-3391

Email: jcraig@coachsquared.com