How to Lead Your Career Through a Recession? (3 min read)

Today’s market in the US and globally has offered signs of recession and finding a job and building a career has become a seriously difficult action in anyone’s career. I do get that question a lot on how to prepare and be successful in such a challenging job market. It is correct that leading through your career in a recession can be painfully challenging, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can successfully navigate this difficult economic period. How?

Most important characteristics you have to enforce in yourself is adaptability and continuous learning.  Set your mind on being open to change and willing to pivot when necessary. This may involve learning new skills, taking on new type of roles, or even exploring alternative career paths. Explore the market for new experiences and market demand. Even if you are not an entrepreneur, learn and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. Look for opportunities to innovate, problem-solve, and create value for your future opportunities and within your current job or industry. Be always one step ahead of the market itself by staying informed about the new trends, industry developments, and your competition. Being knowledgeable about your field while simultaneously educating yourself in another can help you make informed decisions and identify emerging opportunities, even if they look different than what you have been studying or doing in your career. Although learning about markets and trends is a good way to become knowledgeable, the best way to understand a new opportunity is to immerse yourself into it as volunteer. You should offer your skills and expertise to organizations or projects which can benefit from your contribution. Volunteering while you are looking for a job, can help you to expand your network, enhance your skills, and provide a sense of fulfillment. Especially, networking will help you to learn more about yourself, further identify your strengths, your style. Volunteering may result in a new job and diversify your income streams. If you are looking for a job you may dabble in freelancing, or start a side business to supplement your primary income.

It is important to remember that before starting to expand, it is first essential to manage your finances wisely. Immediately create a budget, build your saving, and reduce or postpone as many not critical expenses as possible. Being financially stable, or creating financial stability for yourself during a recession, can provide a peace of mind and allow you to make career decisions and take risks based on your long-term goals rather than immediate financial pressures.

Building emotional resilience is important during challenging times. Remember that you do not have to go through this alone. In a recession, there are more people in your position than you think. Creating a supporting environment around you, and possibly even finding a mentor to help you get through those tough times is always a smart idea. Stay positive, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and seek support from friends, family, or a counselor if needed.

For those who are in their career stage to be promoted, the recession may slow down that process. Forbes mentions that “if you want to get into a management role, focus on leadership training and improving your soft skills. Learning to lead is different from receiving a promotion without the training or education to make your teams as effective and successful as possible” (Forbes).

This may sound strange, but a recession is an opportune time and the perfect phase to build up skills that sometimes you feel like you do not have the time to work on. A recession, although it can hit hard, also may slow down the pace of companies’ growth and the working environment that you are thrust in and allows you to explore career options and also building on your strengths, especially as a young professional.

Remember that a recession is a temporary economic downturn, and with the right strategies, you can not only survive but also thrive in your career. Stay proactive, adaptable, and focused on the changing market, make short-term and long-term goals to lead successfully through challenging times.

Creativity and positive attitude go long way. You may also become an advisor to others on how to lead through their careers during a recession. I will close with saying “reach out to become a go to person” by sharing your positive and creative energy. R.W. Emerson has given his invaluable advice to all of us: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” It takes the courage to overcome fears and learn and prosper.