My friend John forwarded a very heartwrenching article today from the San Jose Mercury News entitled Working their way back up. It is a study of the "underemployed," those those that were high-flying in the boom days, and now are barely getting by with low-wage jobs.
I wish that I could reach every person in the corporate world today and shout with a megaphone:
"Wake up! We are all self-employed!"
Stories such as these illustrate the extreme danger of getting complacent in your corporate job and not expecting a company or economic downturn. They will come, guaranteed! Prepare yourself for the inevitable by:
- Constantly growing new skill sets. Tune into what you love to do, and keep learning about it. Take advantage of corporate-sponsored training and degree programs.
- Being aware of the job market. What is going on in the position and industry you are in? Is there talk of consolidation, automation, outsourcing? What are your peers learning and earning? Read trade journals and attend relevant conferences to make sure you are up on the latest.
- Thinking about all the ways you can generate revenue. Is there a business you could start on the side that would bring in a little income? Can you practice being an entrepreneur while employed, in case you need to depend on that to survive?
- Keeping in touch with influential friends and colleagues. The time to network is not when you are one paycheck away from losing your house. Keep a smart, fun, positive and active group of people around you at all times, and they can help if you need to change careers.