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Career Corner
12 Steps to Surviving the Dreaded Axe

Ramon Greenwood -- There's no denying it. These are dangerous times in the job market. The U.S. economy lost 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive monthly decline earlier this year. The impact ripples around the world.

The truth is anyone can get the axe at any time. It happens to good people and bad ones...hard workers as well as slackers along the career path.

Therefore, it makes common sense to know what to do to survive and prosper should you ever get the dreaded axe.

1. Keep in mind that in the current environment the idea of womb to tomb job security is as dead as a hammer. Be loyal to your present employer, but never develop a romance with the organization. Look out for yourself first.

2. Be alert and well informed at all times about the outlook for your employer and your job. If you know things are going down the drain, begin a below-the-radar search for other opportunities. If the pink slip comes, you'll have a head start on finding another job.

3. Stay prepared financially. Always try to have enough cash in reserve to cover at least three months living expenses.

4. Keep your skills up to date with the needs of the job market. Capitalize on opportunities for additional training. Read the literature of your field.

5. Maintain an up-to-date record of your accomplishments so you can produce a resume in 24 hours.

6. Nurture contacts with people in your line of work and with those likely to employ your type of qualifications. Be visible through outside activities and positive publicity.

7. Help others who lose their jobs. Also, be of assistance to those who are looking to recruit employees. They may help you some day.

8. If you get fired, allow some time for grieving, but not too much. Don't just sit there feeling sorry for yourself. It's natural to be angry with your employer, but don't let your feelings show. You still need him. Negotiate the best possible severance package possible for continuing pay and benefits, particularly insurance coverage. Don't forget good references, too.

9. Start immediately to search for another, better job. Use this time to reassess the goals you have set for the rest of your life. Define the job that will enable you to achieve these objectives.

10. Prepare a plan to market yourself. Let it be known you are available; "advertise" what you have to offer. Involve your network of friends and family in the job search.

11. Be patient. Recognize it will take time to find another acceptable position.

12. Don't panic. If you possibly can afford to wait, don't jump on the first opportunity that comes down the pike, unless, of course, it really matches up with your objectives.

Keep in mind: A high percentage of people end up with better jobs than the ones from which they were fired.

I wish you great career success!

To subscribe to Ramon Greenwood's free semi-monthly newsletter and blog please go to His advice comes from a world of experience, including serving as Senior Vice President of American Express, an entrepreneur, professional director, career coach and author.

© 2008 Ramon Greenwood

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