In the 1978 blockbuster motion picture Superman, Lois Lane falls from a rooftop in New York City. Recognizing her peril, the “Man of Steel” swoops down to catch the falling Lane. “Easy, Miss. I’ve got you,” he says with his trademark grin. “You, you’ve got me? Who’s got you?” replies Lane, looking down over his arms to the sidewalk hundreds of feet below.
In works of fiction, it seems that most all of the “good guys/gals” portrayed have a guardian or safety net protecting them from the direst consequences that life may present. How about you? In your life and, most particularly, your career, do you have a safety net?
For those employees, like corporate CEO’s and professional athletes, contract provisions negotiated by attorneys, agents, and/or the individuals themselves often contain clauses protecting them from losses of income due to illness, termination, or other misfortunes. The “Golden Parachutes” and excesses of corporate executives are currently hot topics, as our American economy appears to be collapsing from greed and poor executive decision-making. Pillars of the financial sector including Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, American International Group (AIG), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac are all stark reminders that any organization, regardless of its size, assets, or reputation, can be virtually bankrupted overnight. If true of large, well-capitalized organizations, this fact applies even more so to less well-capitalized organizations and small businesses.
As an employee or entrepreneur, are you prepared for the possible loss of your source of income? What would you do if the unthinkable happened?
It is a sad fact that few people today have savings that can carry them for an extended period. And so, faced with prospects of losing their jobs or businesses, most people would be compelled to find other employment. Many would reach the point of desperation, when they would accept employment out of their area of expertise, at significantly lower compensation, or both.
In fact, it has been projected that more than 80% of all people will experience a significant disruption at some point in their careers. Of course, these disruptions usually occur when those affected least expect it and are most vulnerable.
How, then, might you prepare for such an eventuality? As in virtually all areas of life, the antidote to potential career disruptions encompasses heightened awareness, planning, and preparation.
First, you must keep abreast of the performance and health of the company at which you are employed. Ignorance is not blissful when your source of income is its subject.
Second, you must force yourself to put away money for that proverbial rainy day. If you live long enough, it will almost certainly arrive at some point in your future.
Third, you need to cultivate and maintain a network of contacts relating to your business and career. Should the day arrive when you are seeking employment, these people will be invaluable.
Fourth, you need to develop and maintain a resume that articulately, effectively positions and promotes you for potential employment. And, the time to prepare that resume is now!
If you take heed and follow these recommendations, you will have built yourself a productive plan of action and safety net against potential career disruptions. Then, you won’t find yourself in the position of waiting for “Superman” to rescue you.
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