Protecting Your Job

March 6, 2009 7:02:56 PM PST
California's unemployment rate is nearly at a record high and economists say even more Americans will lose their jobs this year. The economic uncertainty has many workers in the valley nervous, but a local human resources specialist says you shouldn't be paralyzed with fear.Right now, jobs are hard to come by. That has employees at this Red Carpet Car Wash in Fresno holding on to theirs even though many work for minimum wage. "For some people, it's just a passing through job but right now the trend is for employees to stay on longer," said Operations Vice President Michael Bowie.

At workplaces across the valley the future's uncertainty is on the top of mind and it seems everyone knows someone who's been impacted by the job crunch. For Fresno's Pam Laird, that person is her husband. He's in mortgage banking and now works in San Luis Obispo. "We see each other on weekends. That's how it's affected us, just to stay employed," said Laird.

The state of California has lost about a half a million jobs within the last year and it's only expected to get worse before it gets better. But you can protect yourself to an extent. Human Resource Specialist Sue Mc Combs has some advice for those worried about possible cuts. "That they don't stick their head in the sand and hope everything passes over them. That they seek ways to become more valuable," said McCombs.

McCombs says now is the time to take a pro-active approach. For starters, be a team player. Arrive on time, or even early. Don't complain and don't just 'get by'. "Businesses are trying to keep their doors open. It's hard when you've got employees, that are adding more pressure, adding more difficulty adding more strain and stress to you because they're not on board," said McCombs.

Another way to make yourself valuable: educate yourself in your field. Attend workshops, read books, and go to seminars in order to learn whatever you can. These will help both your company and your career, no matter what happens to your job. "Those skill sets that you've acquired then become valuable and then become assets to you," said McCombs.

And in tough times like these, now is also time to be visible: taking on added responsibilities and communicating with your boss. "Chatting with your supervisor and manager on a regular basis? finding out, what else do want me doing? What could I be doing that could help you, take off some of the pressure for you?" said McCombs.

That doesn't mean you have to be a slave to your job and even if you do everything right, you could still lose your job. But staying engaged into what's going on around you will only make you more valuable if you do find yourself in a transition.

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If you find yourself in a career transition, Fresno human resources specialist Sue McCombs of McCombs & Associates recommends these books:

101 Ways To Recession - Proof Your Career
Author: Wendy Enelow

Even in tough economic times, countless opportunities still exist for the prepared and the success-oriented employee - not just for a job, but for a career advancement, higher pay and job satisfaction.

101 Ways to Recession - Proof Your Career will give you the competitive edge it takes to plan, manage, and control your career. Weaving together advice from dozens of top-notch career professionals, coaches and counselors, resume writers, outplacement consultants, and recruiters - Wendy Enelow has created a one-of-a-kind, practical guide that will give you the knowledge you need to steer your career through the ever-changing employment landscape and in every economic climate.

Who Moved My Cheese?
Author: Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths about change. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a "Maze" and look for "Cheese" to nourish them and make them happy.

Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two are "little people" - beings the size of mice who look and act a lot like people. Their names are Hem and Haw. "Cheese" is a metaphor for what you want to have in life - whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, health, or spiritual peace of mind.

And "The Maze" is where you look for what you want - the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in.

In the story, the characters are faced with unexpected change. Eventually, one of them deals with it successfully, and writes what he has learned from his experience on the maze walls.

When you come to see "The Hand-writing on the Wall," you discover for yourself how to deal with change, so that you can enjoy less stress and more success (however you define it) in your work and in your life.

Written for all ages, the story takes less than an hour to read, but its unique insights can last for a lifetime.

What Color Is Your Parachute?
Author: Richard Bolles

"What Color Is Your Parachute? has been the job-hunting classic for decades...Bolles always goes beyond the routine, including things like useful Internet sites and how to select a career counselor. It's virtually always the best-selling career book, and with good reason." - David Murphy, San Francisco Chronicle

Crisis - Proof Your Career
Author: Peller Marion, Ed.D.

Crisis - Proof Your Career addresses the true reasons behind career endangerment and teaches sound career development skills that will enable you to survive bad times and make the best of good times. Based on twenty-five years of career management counseling, this book provides a practical and proven program of personal assessment and development that you can readily implement to save your career from endangerment - now and in the future.

Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty
Author: Harvey Mackay

Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty is Harvey Mackay's last word on how to get what you want from the world through networking. For everyone from the sales rep facing a career - making deal to the entrepreneur in search of capital, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty explains how meeting these needs should be no more than a few calls away.

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