Are you CERTAIN your job is recession-proof?
Job security is an illusion. Anybody who tells you differently is lying to you. The only job security you have is your ability to create and demonstrate massive value for your employer. We see proof in the massive layoffs that have become a recurring theme ever since “recession” entered the minds of business owners nationwide.
Since November of last year, Facebook has fired over 20,000 employees. Paramount laid off 25% of its workforce. Google terminated about 12,000 jobs in January alone. These are just some of the biggest workforces purgest so far in 2023. As of April, over 168,243 employees have lost their jobs in mass firings.
Because companies want to cut costs because of economic concerns. And it’s not just massive corporations planning to ax their staff. A survey by KPMG says that 91% of America’s CEOs expect a recession by the end of this year, and over 50% of them intend to use layoffs to cut costs.
Those jobs weren’t recession-proof.
I believe we’re already in a recession… but many people think it’s still on the way. If we’re seeing this level of mass firing “before” the recession hits, what do you think will happen when the shoe finally drops?
So if you’re like most employees, you’re probably asking yourself: “Will I lose my job?”
It’s a fair question. Because look, nobody’s job is safe in a severe economic contraction. Oceans of employees get laid off, entire businesses go under, and once-wealthy CEOs lose everything and never recover. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t need to become a victim of a recession. There are simple tactics you can use right now that will dramatically increase your odds of surviving a recession.
I’ve lived through five major economic contractions. I know how this will play out, I know how to prosper in economic turmoil. I had to learn the hard way when the Great Recession of 2008 almost destroyed me and everything I built. Instead of allowing myself to become a victim, I 10X’d everything. I took advantage of the recession, leaned into it, and when the economy came back around, my brand exploded.
More millionaires are made in recessions than in any other economic climate.
So don’t surrender to the recession just yet, the rewards are boundless for those who are brave enough to take action while everyone else cowers in fear.
If you’re one of the many employees worried about your “job security” as the economy continues to tumble, here’s what you need to do right now. Not later. Now. Because if you wait till your boss sends out the pink slips, it’ll be too late.
Steps to Recession-Proof Your Job
First, go above and beyond in everything you do in your current role.
Become the top performer in your department. That means you need to raise the bar. Set higher goals and work harder to achieve them. Work with your employer to determine what a good result would be for you and then set the goal even higher. Share your results with your employer to demonstrate value and stay top of mind. The only way you’ll become the best employee in your team, department, or company is to put in more hustle than anybody else — that means you’ll need to train every day.
Read, study, or take courses on the critical aspects of your job. These could be hard skills like sales or accounting or soft skills like communication and team-building. Forget the 40-hour work week. The more time and effort you put into recession-proofing your job, the more likely you’ll keep your job during layoffs. So when you’re not at the office creating value for your company, you need to be putting in the work to improve yourself and develop skills that will make you more dominant and valuable in the workplace.
You can also go above and beyond by simply doing what others are unwilling to do. Be the first person to the office and the last one to leave. Go to the optional, voluntary meetings most people skip. Strictly follow the dress code and other often-ignored company policies. Talk less in the office and do more. Be disciplined with your lunch hour and break times. Remember, those employees who disregard company policies will be much more easily let go rather than those who go above and beyond.
Next, you must make your job indispensable AKA recession-proof.
A number of the things I mentioned above will help with this. But you’ll have to do even more if you want to become so valuable your company can’t afford to fire you. In times of recession, most of this value will boil down to how you impact the bottom line.
You need to become hyper-focused on one of two things, 1) massively increasing your company’s revenue generation or 2) massively decreasing your company’s wasteful spending. During recessions, bosses are hyper money-conscious, you need to show you’re on the same page and that all your actions are geared towards alleviating those concerns.
Focus on as many money-generating activities as you can. If you don’t understand how your current position directly contributes to the bottom line, ask your employer for clarity or switch to a role that does. If that’s not possible, ask to take on extra responsibilities in addition to what your normal job entails.
The more hats you can wear and the more money pies you get your fingers into, the more expensive it will be to let you go. When layoff time rolls around you need your bosses to think, “No, [FIRSTNAME] is too valuable to let go, pick somebody else.”
When times get tough, the first thing I do is get rid of anything I consider a liability and double down on my assets.
A liability is anything that would be a disadvantage to me or my company. An asset is something that benefits me or at least has real potential to benefit me. Take it from me, the more directly you can contribute to the bottom line of your company, the more likely you’ll be seen as an asset rather than a liability. You need to get as deep as possible into revenue generation. To do that, identify the most highly valued money-making skills at your company (sales, marketing, etc). It’s easy to find them, they’re usually some of the highest-paid roles in the company.
Find out what skills the most highly paid people have and start developing those skills. In my company, we make an effort to overpay our sales team, because they are the #1 source of incoming revenue. So we reward and incentivize them accordingly. My high-performing salespeople would be the last employees on my list to get the pink slip.
Third, be a survivor.
I learned this lesson most clearly during my 90-day challenge in Undercover Billionaire. I had to build a million-dollar business in a city I’ve never been to with only $100 and a beat-up pickup truck. On top of that, I couldn’t use my name or network. They dropped me in Pueblo, CO with no food, water, or a place to stay. I had to get creative and do whatever it took.
Your survival in the workplace depends on your ability to adapt to survive. In times of crisis things can change quickly and without warning. The normal “rules” don’t always apply, and life is brutally unfair. If you want to survive recession layoffs, you need to develop the same kinds of skills you need to survive in a real-world disaster. Learn to adapt. Make the most of what you have. Don’t fight change, embrace it… lean into it and see how you can use it to your advantage.
An often-overlooked element of survival-mentality is maintaining high morale.
There were times during Undercover Billionaire when I wanted to throw in the towel. I felt broken like I was a complete loser and my situation was hopeless. But remember this: your thoughts determine your actions. If you let destructive thoughts dominate your mind, your actions will never be productive enough to reach your goals. You need to keep a positive outlook.
And I’m not saying “Pretend like everything’s fine and dandy.” Sure, bad things happen. But whenever you face a challenge in your work, you can either see it as an obstacle or as an opportunity. Obstacles impeded progress. Opportunities facilitate new ways to achieve your result. See challenges as opportunities to prove your worth and invent new solutions… and do it with enthusiasm, not discouragement. This positivity is contagious and will influence your co-workers to do the same. If you pull this off, you’ll not only be seen as resourceful and innovative, but also as a leader and valuable asset to the company at large because of your positive, forward-thinking attitude.
The last step to protecting your job from mass firings is building strong relationships with leadership in your company.
In big-picture business, the most important aspect of marketing isn’t “who you know” it’s “who knows you.”
The more people who know about you, the higher your perceived value and credibility and the less likely they’ll axe you.”
The key here is to be visible and ensure your contributions are noted by decision-makers in company leadership. Because the more you are seen in positive and productive situations, the less likely you’ll be seen as a liability.
On the flip side, if you’re invisible and never interact with leadership, you’ll likely be one of the first to be let go. It’s why 60% of managers say their remote staff will be the first to go during layoffs… out of sight, out of mind… out of work. (So get back to the office if you haven’t already.)
Plus, if you are laid off. This strong network with higher-ups could be your fast-track way into a new position whether through direct referrals or glowing reviews.
While you don’t want to completely rely on your network for your next job, it can’t hurt to have decision-makers in your corner to help you down the road.
Follow these four steps and you’ll be miles ahead of most employees when layoffs come from your employer. But look, none of this matters if you don’t start doing it right now. You have to start implementing these steps before the layoffs begin. We all know darker economic times are on the horizon. We all know how most business owners react. Shrink. Retreat. Slim down. Fire lots of people. It’s only a matter of time.
The earlier you start, the more likely you’ll be one of the few remaining employees who were considered “too valuable to let go.” So get started right now.
Be great, nothing else pays.
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