Is there another global financial crisis on the way in 2016? This was the question on everyone’s mind when I recently ran a career coaching workshop for jobseekers in Dubai.
The truth is, nobody can predict 100% what is going to happen this year. All we know is that the future of the economy looks uncertain. The problem is, uncertainty can often lead to feelings powerlessness, and lack of control. In situations like this, there is really only ever one solution: take charge of the things you DO have control over. Here are a few ways in which you can prepare now, to put you in a stronger position to deal with the worst-case scenario:
1) Nurture and grow your existing network
Your network can be an invaluable source of advice, support, guidance, introductions and even potential job offers. Investing the time now to expand your network and deepen current connections could open you up to a world of resources that you didn’t know existed. Resources that could help you survive, and even thrive, in an economic downturn.
2) Get hiring fit!
There’s no sugar-coating it. Economic downturns lead to job losses. In order to manage your risk of redundancy you need to do three things:
a) Perform at your best in your current role and produce results so if/when they make redundancies, your name is less likely to be on the list
b) Get yourself hiring fit – meaning that you are ready to start looking for a job immediately if the worst-case scenario does happen. This involves polishing your CV to an outstanding level, and making sure your self-marketing and interview skills are up to an excellent standard.
c) Look at the counter-cyclical industries - what skills might you need to develop to move into industries less affected by an economic downturn?
The competition for roles is going to be fierce – make sure you are ready to fight with everything you’ve got. A good career coach can help you with this.
3) Prepare yourself financially
Economic downturns are a great opportunity to learn the all-important skill of budgeting! With the UAE being such a rich nation, expats often get caught up in the lavish lifestyle seemingly on offer – meaning high costs and few savings. Look at your expenses and start to think about ‘essentials’ vs ‘non-essentials’ to cut back on your spending and increase savings ready for the worst case scenario.
Make sure you have an emergency cash fund at home in case you can’t get any money out of ATMs, and get your affairs in order so that if you need to move quickly, you can.
4) Get in shape – physically and mentally
The number of suicides in Greece has literally been doubling year-on-year since their financial crisis first began. Hospitals have also recorded twice as many heart disease-related admissions during this time. If people had been better prepared to cope with uncertainty both mentally and physically, there is a possibility some of these could have prevented.
If you are prone to stress or cope poorly with uncertainty, get yourself mentally and physically fit so you are strong enough to cope with whatever could happen. Get a coach, personal trainer, mentor or even a therapist to help prepare you for what may lie ahead. Your life could depend on it.
5) Change your perspective
An economic downturn is only a problem if you perceive it as one. What if it was actually an opportunity? An opportunity for growth and personal development. An opportunity to enhance your skills (e.g. networking, self-marketing, interview and CV-writing skills. Even how to budget and be more resourceful!).
When the crisis hit in 2009, I was working in Financial Services recruitment. It was no surprise when I was handed my redundancy letter. Initially I was devastated. But then I thought – what if this was actually supposed to happen? What if someone ‘up there’ was trying to give me a nudge in a different direction? How can I turn this problem into an opportunity? I then decided this was the perfect time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life – and that was the start of my journey to becoming a coach. How could you turn an economic downturn into a great opportunity?