Archive for recession
With all the company layoffs going on lately, you’re probably either really worried about being laid off, or have already been so. Either way if you think about it you don’t really have control of the situation.
Many career experts and advisers talk about how to do well in interviews, who’s hiring, what degrees you should get, what careers are hot, what industries are growing, etc. There’s some good information there, but it comes with an implicit belief which is never mentioned: the employer is in charge. As we grow up we are told to do well in school so that we can get a good job, get a college education so that we can be marketable, and so on. After years of layoffs, downsizing, rightsizing and restructuring the idea that employers will provide you with a lifetime of secure, well-paid employment are long over. So now I want you to take charge of your career. The biggest stumbling block to making more money is your thoughts about money and your perceived self-worth. Of course, making money takes effort and lots of action but I find that before this can take place, you need to change your way of thinking.
This might be a good time to take back control of your career. One way is to consider consulting. The hourly rates are much higher, you pay less taxes, have all sorts of deductions and control your work schedule. Take a few months off in between contracts if you want. I save lots of money during my contracts so I can take months off whenever I want. I even went back to college for jazz guitar at age 36.
Even as an employee, you can change your mindset. Keep learning. Take some night courses. Do lots of networking and enhance your profile online by writing a blog, articles, and so on. Establish yourself as an expert and have a network you can use to change jobs whenever you want.
As you know from this blog I highly encourage you to do contract work instead of being an employee. There are so many benefits including higher pay, more deductions (via your corporation), variety of projects, more freedom and so on. As you can see from the huge number of layoffs during this recession there really is no job security anymore. If your company has work then you will stay employed. I’ve spent the last little while teaching students guitar and practicing my own things while I look for the next contract. There is no stress because I am making some money on the side teaching and I’ve saved money for the inevitable ‘rainy day’ which always comes.
Companies’ attitude towards contracting goes in cycles. Sometimes they want lots of contractors, then they return to wanting employees. Right now with all the layoffs, companies are actually more interested in hiring contractors because they have work but they don’t want to commit to long-term employees at this point.
So get out there and find those contracts!
Many people have been struggling with the current recession, losing their homes, losing their jobs and so on. While some of the blame definitely should go to the investment companies I think it’s useful to examine our own actions in this mess. We can’t control what happens outside of our own actions. Many of the affected people:
- had little or no rainy day fund. It should be 6-8 months or longer of easy accessible funds
- bought houses they couldn’t afford and didn’t understand the terms of the contract
All we can do is try to learn for next time (and there WILL be a next time). I’ve been off since December (at the end of my last contract) and haven’t worried too much about it because I’ve been using my rainy day fund. I paid off my mortgage a while ago, but the key was using a variable rate mortgage (vs fixed) and increasing the monthly payment every year or so. So pay down debt when times are good. It’s hard to react when everything caves in and you’re not prepared for it.
I just wanted to explain that there is an ‘alternative reality’ to the ‘live in the moment’ attitude that way too many people have these days. I started teaching guitar at a guitar store and learning songs during this off period. It’s been a lot of fun and a new experience while I wait for things to recover.
People have a lot of debt these days. And they’re worried about losing their jobs. There are lots of practical tips out there these days for consolidating loans, reducing spending and so on. I consider that to be only one side of the equation. And I don’t know about you but it sounds pretty painful to cut back on healthy foods in favor of cheaper junk food, selling your home, and other restrictions.
You rarely see anyone talking about how to make more money, especially when times are tough. I think this is a fatal mindset. You need to be taking action at all times. As I mention in my ebook, you need to find a niche market. This is probably the number one thing you can do to increase your rates. Getting higher rates is also a matter of psychology – how you feel about yourself – that comes across in discussions and interviews.
Another area you might want to consider if you have a full-time job is to start an internet business. These can be started fairly cheaply these days. It’s a good idea to test your idea first, but creating a small basic offering and test it with some Google adwords for example. I’ve seen many people invest their life savings into an idea they’re passionate about and end up broke.
My advice is to create some information products like an e-book or better yet a membership site. If you don’t have any specialized knowledge (most of us do) such as a hobby or job skill, you can find someone who does and partner with them. They provide the content and you set up and run the site for them. If you don’t have any technical knowledge drop me a line and I’ll send you some pointers. I’m looking at setting up a new site to help people like you set up their own membership site step by step. Most of it isn’t that technical, there’s no software to install for example. And you can work on this on the side. At a minimum it can help pay off some of your debt, and best case you can quit your day job and work on it full time!