Be Prepared for the Long Haul.(BEAT-THE-RECESSION ISSUE)

annes, George. “Be Prepared for the Long Haul.(BEAT-THE-RECESSION ISSUE)(Features; Thrive in a Bad Economy; Beat the Recession / Career Survival Guide: Part II). .” Money 38.2 (Feb 2009): 86. General OneFile. Gale. Lakeview High School. 1 Feb. 2009 
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Full Text:COPYRIGHT 2009 Time, Inc. 

Byline: George Mannes
You’ve made it through the layoffs; now it’s time to invest in yourself.
Before this recession, white-collar professionals still had cause to worry. Although the tech boom made you more productive, the Internet relentlessly cuts out middlemen, forcing huge changes in businesses from finance to retail. Globalization, which took out the steel and textile workers of the 20th century, is now breathing down the necks of the information management class. (Economist Alan Blinder has estimated that more than 28 million service-sector jobs may be vulnerable to offshoring.) And when new ideas can spread faster than a YouTube video, the resume you spent years polishing may suddenly look obsolete. Can you still get all the way to retirement doing work you love? Yes–if you invest in the skills you need to preserve not a job but a career.
Josh Moritz is 54 and a managing partner of an advertising agency in Westport, Conn. So why would he spend $50,000 to go back to school? To expand his intellectual horizons and learn new business technology. That impresses potential clients. “When people hear I’m doing an M.B.A., their ears20perk up,” says Moritz, who is attending Babson College part time. “It gives me an edge.”
Grad school is one way to send the message that you’re up to date. But it’s not always a slam-dunk financial proposition. Part-time and exec M.B.A. programs can cost $20,000 to $100,000 or more–and the older you are, the less time you have to collect whatever salary increases the degree might bring.
To justify the cost, research what you’ll get out of the program and how it applies to your career. Check job boards for the position you want and see what schooling is required. Also find out what education the hotshots in your field have. You may find that alternatives like short-term certificate courses make more sense.
Find out the certifications and20degrees that industry leaders have acquired. Then follow suit.
Some people have a love-hate relationship with networking. For others, it’s hate-hate. Who has the stamina to spend all that time trading business cards with strangers? And does your adult life really have to feel so much like freshman year?
The key is to not think of networking primarily as socializing. Champion networkers say it’s not about working the room but offering something tangible. So instead of just milling about at an industry event, lend a hand with the organizing or maybe give a speech. Consider taking a leadership position in a professional group (the competition may not be as stiff as you think). Look for opportunities to advance someone else’s career–and start long before you need a hand yourself. “You help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want,” says Ford Myers, a career coach in Haverford, Pa.

Shy? Sending e-mail updates or using networking sites like LinkedIn lets you connect without small talk.
Be generous with your knowledge, contacts and job tips. People will remember.
Figure there’s a consulting gig in your future? Maybe you fantasize about working for yourself as you ease into retirement. Or perhaps it’s Plan B if you get the ax. Consulting can be a decent second act, but it takes a lot of realistic thinking.
You can lay the groundwork now. Get your name known outside your company while you still enjoy the glow of being with a brand-name employer. Moonlight on a project or two, maybe subcontracting through another consultant. Susan Silver, 45, who started her Chicago marketing consultancy in 2006, advises saving up six months’ worth of living expenses. “Knowing I would be okay was very important,” she says.
Finally, remember that consulting requires you to be a marketer, not just an expert. “I have to be selling every day,” says Matt Bud, an executive staffing consultant in Weston, Conn. and chairman of the Financial Executives Networking Group. (For more crucial advice, see “The Would-Be Entrepreneur’s Handbook,” page 91.)
Before you make the break, start to hoard cash. It will reduce your anxiety level.
After Betty Boyd Meis, 56, was laid off from a high-level finance job in 2001, she decided to work in nonprofits. She knew she wouldn’t be able to match her old pay. But she also learned that her corporate credentials wouldn’t give her easy access to top nonprofit jobs.
To prove her commitment to potential employers, she decided she’d take whatever nonprofit work she could get. That meant assuming duties she was wildly overqualified for, such as carrying deposits to the bank. But that work led to her current job as senior vice president of finance and administration at Planned Parenthood of North Texas. “It gave me experience I could sell,” she says.
Meis took a risk that wouldn’t make sense for everyone. It worked because she had a clear goal in mind, which let her think one or two jobs ahead. Start making a list of companies you’d like to work for or responsibilities you’d like to have. Then research everything you can about them and how you might get there. Don’t focus too much on climbing the next obvious rung on the career ladder–after all, those ladders are getting pulled out from under people all the time. “You want to be involved in something that gets your juices flowing,” says Karen Dowd, executive director of career services at the University of Denver’s business school. “People are attracted to that passion.”
Accept lower pay if it helps you move your career where you want it to go.
0AIt’s not a bad thing to be known for doing your existing job well. But you’re more valuable when you add new areas of expertise. “You get paid in two ways: compensation and experience,” says Tom Bundros, chief financial officer of a municipal utility company in Dalton, Ga. “If you want to be successful, be more concerned with the experience.” He attributes his success to moving among different financial specialties.
Granted, branching out within your firm is harder during a recession. Companies are less focused on internal development, and they’re more likely to shut down divisions than to open new ones. So recruit a mentor, says Linda Dominguez, an executive coach in Los Angeles. If there’s a part of the company you want to know more about, ask an executive a level or two above you if you can meet with him or her on a limited basis–say, 30 minutes every other week for two months. “Put some structure around it so that the person doesn’t feel burdened,” Dominguez suggests.
Look for opportunities off the job too. Vanessa Christman, 47, a former English teacher, says that working on two nonprofit boards helped her rise from a support job to a supervisory position coordinating student programs at Bryn Mawr College. “It gave me confidence in my abilities,” she says.
Go out of your way to meet with executives in different parts of your organization.
Styling by Julie Whitmire
Sharpen Your Skills
To help your career thrive in the years ahead, master some new tricks now.
Pursuing an M.B.A. part time is helping this advertising executive win more clients.
Serving on nonprofit boards taught her leadership and furthered her career.
Gale Document Number:A191798694

© 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning.

One Response to “Be Prepared for the Long Haul.(BEAT-THE-RECESSION ISSUE)”
  1. hai…just dropped here.btw your blog has many great content


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