THINKPIECE: Chicken soup for the recession: five tips to help avoid a chill in this inclement economy

You've probably noticed that your phone isn't ringing with the same frequency it usually does this time of year. You've also noticed more furrowed brows and looks of angst from anyone reading the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or any trade publication. We are in a recession - plain and simple. Whether the Fed wants to officially admit it, watching countless companies lay off thousands of employees every week is all one needs to realize this is a down market.

You've probably noticed that your phone isn't ringing with the same frequency it usually does this time of year. You've also noticed more furrowed brows and looks of angst from anyone reading the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or any trade publication. We are in a recession - plain and simple. Whether the Fed wants to officially admit it, watching countless companies lay off thousands of employees every week is all one needs to realize this is a down market.

You've probably noticed that your phone isn't ringing with the same frequency it usually does this time of year. You've also noticed more furrowed brows and looks of angst from anyone reading the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or any trade publication. We are in a recession - plain and simple. Whether the Fed wants to officially admit it, watching countless companies lay off thousands of employees every week is all one needs to realize this is a down market.

Communications practitioners, take heed: Not every company's mentality is elevated to the recognition that you help position their messages to the market, and hence that you are invaluable! Here are some tips to keep in mind when considering your own position:

1. Anyone is replaceable. Now would not be the time to voice any malcontent. A lot of agency principals and corporate VPs have taken advantage of the influx of resumes by letting 'less-productive and high-maintenance' people go. Those who are underperforming, or have unrealistic requests relative to their jobs, are being put on notice. We've heard of this happening several times in the past 10 days.

2. Be realistic. Now is not the time to oversell your worth, both in terms of compensation and skillset. More so now than ever, companies are retaining, dismissing and hiring people based not only on skills, but also on cultural fit and chemistry, and those who are most competitively priced are getting the positions. Given the larger amount of candidates to choose from, hiring managers are more picky now than ever.

3. Research your alternatives. Know your particular vertical market (health care, high-tech, etc.) well enough to know which company is solid enough to weather the downturn. Revenues, customers (clients), long-term relationships and solid management should all play a role in the decision-making process. Also, if the company is public, how are they doing? What are the analysts saying?

4. Don't window shop. Companies have more unsolicited resumes coming at them than in the past few years, so if you are not serious about leaving your current employer and selling yourself, don't bother. That leads me to ...

5. Don't panic. Would you knowingly take a long drive in an ice storm or walk into a tornado? Do you need to raise concerns to management about things that aren't really that important? Is leaving your current position critical? See if scratching the itch will provide you with the relief you seek, and you'll perhaps realize that 'this too shall pass.'

Barry Shulman's search firm, Shulman Associates, is a San Francisco-based public relations and corporate marketing executive recruiter.





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