Part III: Keeping Your Job in Slow Times

When business slows down, employers are often faced with tough decisions. As employees, we need to make sure we keep our jobs. It is difficult to do more, work harder, and build business when there is a lack of resources and morale, yet this is precisely what is required of us if we want to ensure that we make it through these challenging times.

Nothing we do will protect us entirely from job cuts, but we can take specific steps to increase the chances that our employers will hold on to us. Here are four things you can do:

  1. Take it up a notch. In tough times, give more – not less. Stay later when needed, pitch in to help others, generate new ideas. This extra effort shows your employers that you aren’t there just for the pay check. You care; you want to see the business thrive, and you will do whatever it takes to make sure it happens. This kind of loyalty pays off in the end. The bonus is that you will also feel good. There’s nothing like thinking you are on a sinking ship to make you feel lost and depressed. Going the extra mile will make you feel more positive and optimistic. This kind of attitude will rub off on your co-workers as well.
  2. Save your company money. It may not be your job to look for ways to cut costs or create new revenue streams, but step up to the plate anyway. Research ways to replace current products you use with less expensive ones; think of new ways to add bonus items for your customers to buy to the products or services you sell. Present these ideas to your supervisors, and state your intention to help. You can even note that you realize these efforts aren’t in your job description, but you want to do whatever you can to increase profit and keep costs down. Even if management decides not to take your ideas, they will see that you care enough to make the extra effort.
  3. Stay positive. It is normal for malaise to kick in during a recession. We may feel anxious, overworked and underpaid. While these feelings are normal, getting stuck in them makes the situation worse. Do your best to say out of the gossip circles and complaining sessions. Seek the company of people you know are trying to make things better. When someone makes a comment that is filled with doom and gloom, either walk away or counter it with something positive.
  4. Make yourself visible. Make sure your bosses know what you contribute to the company. That doesn’t mean you have to turn into a braggart or be showy in front of your co-workers, but seek credit for the work you do. This can be done in simple ways – through a memo to your bosses about a recent sale you made, or a casual mention of an extra effort you made recently. When it is time for management to make those cuts, you want them to remember even the small things you have done to go above and beyond.

Doing these four things can help, but remember to be prepared for a possible job cut. Use your down time to update your resume, contact old bosses and business acquaintances and take classes that improve or expand your skills.