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Tips To Hold Onto Your Job and Beat Debt In A Recession

As I’m transitioning to a new job, I’ve been slowing down temporarily and including some guest posts. This guest post comes from Tricia Wagner of Destroy Debt.

It’s official, we are in a recession and more and more people face the fear of losing their jobs. It is one thing to deal with the shaky economy while employed, quite another ballgame if you find yourself joining the ranks of newly unemployed. Although no one is guaranteed employment in today’s economic climate, there are ways you can improve you chances of staying on the payroll. If you want to stay out of debt or stop the downward spiral into further debt, securing a steady paycheck is the first step toward financial security.

If you are losing sleep over the prospect of losing your job do yourself a favor, stop worrying and start acting. The economy may be slowing, but you cannot allow yourself that luxury if you want to keep your current job or if you are searching for a new one.

Mind your manners

Still worrying or getting stressed out over job security? It’s understandable but don’t let it get you down. Now more than ever you need to present a positive and productive image. Keep in mind that your co-workers and maybe even your boss could be sharing the same concerns. Take this opportunity to show that you can keep your cool and remain confident in the face of uncertainty.

Increase your visibility

Many of us would like to think that we are irreplaceable when in reality everyone is expendable, especially if your company is cutting costs. You will want to step up your game and make sure you are arriving to work on time, putting your best foot forward and making solid contributions to the company. If you have the time and ability to do so volunteer to take on additional responsibilities, but only if you are confident you can handle the extra work. You don’t want to blindly agree to anything thrown your way only to find out you won’t be able to complete the work as promised. This is a time to get the job done and prove you are an employee who is willing to work outside the box to get things done.

Take a class to improve your skills

Unless you are fresh out of college, consider taking a class or course to boost your skill set. You want to remain competitive and refreshing your education or building on it will benefit you in numerous ways either at your current job or your future position.

Be prepared for all possibilities

Minding your manners, increasing your visibility and refreshing your skills are all things you can do to prove to your employer that you are committed to the company and your position. Unfortunately that might not be enough. Sometimes getting laid off is unpreventable and nothing you do will change the end result. That is why preparing yourself for all possibilities might be the most important thing you can do. If you have the slightest indication that your company is considering letting people go, don’t wait until you are called into the bosses office to think of plan B. Update your resume; reach out to people in your network to get the work out you may be looking for new opportunities.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

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December 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael December 12, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I’ve heard the “take a class to improve your skills” tip one too many times. I don’t know anybody who took a class to improve their skills and became marketable in that skill, or even close, after the class was over. Discuss.

mrsmicah December 12, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Interesting challenge, Michael. That does get thrown around a lot. So I’ve been trying to think of examples.

The biggest one that came to mind is when my father earned a M.S. in Software Engineering. He was around 50, had been working in software since the late 60s/early 70s (or whatever the equivalent was back then). He did the degree over a number of years and it made him much more marketable when his company did massive layoffs a few years later. As someone in his early 50s, he was worried people would see him as past-prime. But he had a fresh degree, which looked good combined with years of experience with a number of different languages and whatnot.

He still reads up on new programming languages and technologies, which I think continues to make him marketable.

I’d say that for someone in software, learning a new programming language might at least make them more attractive if they have to leave.

For other areas, it’s a little less clear. A cataloging course might make me more attractive at work. For Micah, studying up on a new philosopher would mean he could start teaching the philosopher’s work.

If a salesperson was worried about improving their sales, a course and new approach might help.

But for some jobs, I don’t see a clear course topic that would make them immediately more desirable.

jeflin December 13, 2008 at 3:29 am

I doubt increasing visibility when times are bad will have much of an effect.

If the boss is discerning, he will know who really created value for his enterprise throughout the year.

Retraining is a good idea though especially in slower times. A new skill can open up job opportunities, even though it may not come in handy in the current job.


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