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Reinvent One Step Ahead of the Next Recession: 4 Things to Do Now


A NYTimes quote the other day by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom got my attention when asked about his major areas of focus in the near term —preparing for a recession — “more acute than ‘01 but less acute than ‘07”.
It’s good to hear that Newsom’s administration is planning and preparing for the next economic downturn. 
You may be thinking—“Why prepare now?”—with unemployment low (at least here in the U.S.) and job applicants so confident that the next opportunity is there for the grabbing that they’re ghosting potential employers, but if you’ve been around long enough you know that the economy is cyclical. Ups and downs. 
Some economists say we can expect a global downturn in 2020 and others opine that a slowdown leading to a recession won’t happen until post 2020. Let’s say, for the sake of this post, that a slowing of the economy begins in late 2019 and gains momentum throughout 2020. 
Seasoned “careerpreneurs” pride themselves on having primary and pivot strategies and risk mitigation plans ahead of the curve. 
Here are four things that you can do now so you’re not scrambling along with everyone else, while also increasing your chances of landing on your feet, especially if the economy and opportunities begin to pause later this year.

First Things First

When was the last time you assessed your professional and personal relationships? This includes your informal contacts, say, on LinkedIn and other social media versus your core relationships, people who you trust and can depend on. What relationships have been “tested” in the past that you found to be solid?
Do you have good working relationships with different recruiting agencies? Even if you’ve never been placed with an agency, it’s a good idea to build bridges with a number of key recruiters and agencies based on your field of work and their industry reputation.
I frequently connect career professionals looking for new opportunities with recruiters whose reputations are solid—extra steps in my day, but something that extends my credibility reach and network influence. This has served me well over the years, particularly when the economy has taken a nosedive. We can all use a little help sometimes. 

Next Up: Creative Collaborations

What side hustle could you start now and, if needed, convert into a business within 60 or 90 days—one with paying customers? 
“During the Great Recession the number of self-employed Americans fell 4 percent to 9.8 million between November 2007 and June 2009, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Twelve percent more businesses shut down in 2009 than in 2007. Many who were laid off during the recession started small businesses because they had no other choice.” 
Who might you collaborate with for when you both could use one another’s strengths and skills? What other activities might you kick off now—even if they’re unpaid—that showcases your expertise and grows a fan base. A podcast? A blog? 

Three’s a Charm: Reinvent, Upskill & Reskill

Now is the time to identify knowledge and experience gaps and putting in the effort to close them—fast-paced or incremental depending on how quickly you want to move in your desired direction. 
Are you planning to remain in your field of work for the next three years? You might just need to refresh your skills in order to keep yourself in demand during a downturn. 
You might be looking to change industries altogether, one that requires new knowledge and additional skills. Take a few online courses to test the waters—see if what you’re imagining in your mind aligns with the reality in the field. As more companies leverage virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for training and recruiting, you’ll likely have more ways to “try on a role” before you take that leap into a new field. 
If you’re looking to experience a formal reinvention process, be sure to check out my 30 Day Career Reinvention course—successfully field tested for over two decades. It’s one of the courses that come bundled as part of our Seeding Change membership.

Quartet of Signposts: Your Personal Inflection Curve (P.I.C.)

One of the areas that we cover in the 30 Day Career Reinvention course includes four early signposts associated with the timing and flow of your reinvention: 
  1. Leveraging your intuitive feelings as a key navigation tool
  2. Assessing your Optimum Change Cycle (OCC)
  3. Connecting the dots that serve as a bridge for your reinvention
  4. Expanding your views to encompass your peripheral vision 
The colorful slide below comes from a presentation deck that I shared with a 600-person workshop that visually captures the flow of your Personal Inflection Curve (P.I.C.).
A question that I typically ask participants: “Do you get an intuitive sense when it’s time to make a change?” 
Most hands will typically shoot up in the air. 
I follow-up with “How many of you actually take action when you have this intuitive sense that change is needed?”
Perhaps, twenty percent of the room keep their hands raised. 
Why do so many of us not proactively begin the change process when our intuition nudges us to do so? 
That is the question that keeps me up at night :)