You can hardly turn on the television, surf online or unfold your newspaper without encountering a story about the state of the economy. With talk of a recession in the air, it’s easy to speculate about doom-and-gloom scenarios at work.
No one knows what the future holds, but it’s a good idea to make yourself as indispensable at work as possible.
Although no action can fully guarantee your job security, you’ll increase your chances of weathering the storm by taking practical steps to raise your visibility and looking for new opportunities to contribute.
Consider the following tips to recession-proof your career:
- Think Target instead of Tiffany
- Shine a light on your accomplishments
- Don’t be a wallflower
- Become an MVP
- Step up to the plate
- Be a cool cat
1. Think Target instead of Tiffany
During challenging times, firms value employees who can maximize the bottom line. So find ways to help your company reduce costs.
For example, would a four-color print brochure you’re designing be just as effective in PDF form? If so, conduct some research into the brochure’s intended audience and, if it makes sense, propose the change to your manager, highlighting how much money your company could save.
2. Shine a light on your accomplishments
Make sure those above you know who you are and the value you bring to the firm. There’s no need to brag; simply let others—especially your supervisor—know of your accomplishments. One of the best ways to do so is to provide your manager with a weekly project update.
If you already prepare this document, make sure you fully explain your contributions. For example, instead of saying you “helped marketing solve a design problem,” let your manager know you stayed late to redesign the concept and draft a creative brief to present to higher-ups.
3. Don’t be a wallflower
Visibility is key, and there are several simple ways to build it. For example, when attending meetings, speak up and contribute to the discussion. It’s also wise to network within your company by getting to know those in other departments.
After all, your success at work isn’t just about what you know but also who you know. Attend the company holiday party or interdepartmental luncheons, and volunteer for projects that allow you to interact with those outside your immediate work group. The relationships you build can prove useful when you seek advice or support.
4. Become an MVP
Consider all of the functions in your department and determine which are most critical to the company’s bottom line. These are the areas where you can provide the most value.
If your company outsources the creation of PowerPoint presentations used by hundreds of sales professionals, for example, offering to take on that type of project will save your firm money and increase your value to the company.
5. Step up to the plate
Creatives who show initiative are always in demand. If a teammate is struggling to meet a deadline, offer to help. Likewise, if no one is racing to represent your group at a strategy meeting, volunteer to attend.
Be willing to take on responsibilities outside of your usual job description. You’ll help your team and strengthen your own abilities.
6. Be a cool cat
Have you heard that a major client is threatening to cut its ad budget? Don’t let yourself become distracted by what might or might not happen.
Focus instead on what you can control: producing high-quality work. In uncertain times, you’ll be an asset to your team and manager by demonstrating a calm demeanor and completing each project to the best of your abilities.