Since the market conditions have been challenging, we cannot take our job security for granted. What do we do to maintain our sanity and employability in this situation?
- Prepare Mentally: Right in the second year of my job, the bank, that I was working for, handed a copy of the book “Who Moved My Cheese” to each of the staff. A couple of months later, they announced that their corporate bank in India will be shut down. Mentally thinking about this eventuality in any company and business is a good idea. This is the first step in preparation. I am not suggesting that you stop doing your job and focus only on this. All I am asking is that you devote a small time every week to think about this scenario in detail. Make notes. How will an abrupt or for that matter a gradual loss of your current job affect you and your family? Recognising this possibility and its repercussions is the first step in the process. We do this in any case as most people are intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall but the idea is to do it in a structured and disciplined manner so that it can be converted to actionable items. By the way, that book is a great read.
- Prepare Financially: While the going is good and a reasonable salary keeps hitting our bank account every month, we tend to take it for granted. Some people improve their standard of living slowly and some rapidly. Eventually, most find themselves consuming the whole monthly income (and the bonus, if any) towards their cost of living, the kids education, house rent or the mortgage. Slowly, the luxuries become the needs and it becomes impossible to live in a cheaper neighbourhood or to send the kids to a school which is cheaper (may not be academically inferior). Numerous books that I have read talk about not counting the house you live in as your investment asset, not splurging on cars and watches in a moment of weakness and keeping the garage free of “assets” like golf kits, sports bikes etc. An asset is something that generates income or dividend and can be disposed off to generate money in the times of distress – stocks, high-grade bonds, real estate in prime location (and not the holiday homes in far suburbs or expensive club memberships). Simple books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “Conquer the Crash” can throw more light on this subject.
- Diversify Your Skill-Set: Doing the same job in the same department for years together leads to great specialisation and an increase in compensation in the short-term. But this is really harmful in the long run. Take opportunities to move locations, departments and organisations.
- Develop Skills or Interests Outside Work: However hectic is your job, it makes sense to invest small time and great effort in learning new skills. Start with the areas of interest that you are normally not able to pursue due to the day-job. Work on one area for a few months, see if you can do it effortlessly and enjoyably. Who knows this may be your next commercial success. If you don’t enjoy this particular activity, take up another one and keep repeating the process, till you find something that you enjoy and has a potential of becoming a business. I may or may not become a successful writer, but I do enjoy writing for hours and sharing my experiences with a virtually unlimited audience, thanks to the modern platforms like LinkedIn, Quora, Twitter, Facebook etc. And I do it by utilising any tit-bits of time available during the weekend, travel or week-nights. Yes, I have to give up un-necessary TV and videogames. Short of ideas? Start reading books on a wide variety of subjects – fiction, biographies, history, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, self-help etc. Remember reading a book is an investment of the most precious resource – TIME, so choose wisely.
- Take Care of Your Wellbeing: While running the rat race of our career and due to various excuses, we lose our physical, mental and spiritual health, slowly but surely. The health is normally on your side till you hit 20. After that, the higher education, corporate jobs and other activities provide one excuse after the other to push our wellbeing agenda further down the road. The health issues crop up once in a while but are suppressed by quick-fix solutions – pills. Some of them chronic – which is a glorified term for using them for the full life, often in increasing dosage. Invest time in your health everyday as a favour to yourself. You use your body and mind everyday and hence it is important to take care of them daily to keep them in a great working order. My upcoming book “Happiness is All We Want” can help people desirous of taking control of their wellbeing.
Please feel free to leave a comment and write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.