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The Specter of a Job Loss

A new survey suggests that a third of the U.S. workforce is haunted by threats of losing their jobs. Some simple tips can help ease the anxiety.

The historic inauguration of President Barack Obama made our spirits soar for a day, and I hope that inspiration fuels many of us to work together, to work hard, and to work for the common good.

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But getting back into the daily grind brings daunting realities and difficult choices, especially in our jobs. Will my job be around at the end of 2009?  Should I settle for less for the sake of keeping a job?

Such questions feed into an anxiety that is affecting more than a third of the workforce, according to a recent survey by Yahoo! HotJobs. About 34% percent of respondents said they are worried about their job security this year.

The feeling is certainly understandable, with rising unemployment and daily gloom from news outlets about layoffs and financial fears. In fact, I’m surprised the number from the survey isn’t higher.

Being haunted by job-loss worries, however, threatens to make you a less valued employee, whether it’s because of less productivity or a consistently foul attitude. I talked to some experts for a recent article about this anxiety trend, and they suggested several tips for making yourself less vulnerable to a possible layoff. Here are a few:

Go the extra mile. Do what you can to add value, whether it’s finding ways to make more money or save more money for your organization. And make sure your boss knows about these efforts.

Nurture your networks. Stay active in professional organizations, take advantage of volunteer opportunities, and keep in touch with friends and associates.

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Live within your means. As career coach Jerry Pico said, financial burdens can be a big source of anxiety, regardless of income or employment situation. “Living within a budget will allow you to sustain a comfortable life free of worry,” he says.

For more, please check out the article, “Workers Face Job Anxiety in 2009.”

Another interesting bit of data from the survey: Job satisfaction actually rose in 2008.  More people claimed to satisfied at work (38%) than in 2007 (28%). The recession is improving how people feel about their jobs — as in, “I’m glad to have one!”

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