Worried about losing your job in a recession? This entrepreneur advises you do these 5 things right now.

By Aarthi Swaminathan

One expert says workers should change their mindset and prepare to speak up for themselves as the recession storm approaches.

Bad mood is spreading, fears of recession and waves of layoffs are increasing.

After two years of the pandemic, the economy is turning as inflation remains at multi-year highs and the Federal Reserve is on the warpath with rate hikes to counter it.

Workers should change their mindset and prepare to speak up for themselves as the storm approaches, workplace experts say. According to a report by KPMG, 91% of US CEOs surveyed are “convinced” the economy is headed for a recession in the next 12 months.

There has been a “real shift in tone,” Steve Koepp, an entrepreneur who co-founded From Day One, a conference series and people-centric media company, told MarketWatch. “Businesses aren’t as desperate anymore, and they also see a recession coming. The employees were in the driver’s seat. Now they’re not so much.”

To be clear, it doesn’t appear that companies are giving up their employees. In fact, they are trying very hard to keep their workers, as the New York Times recently reported

But that doesn’t mean there won’t be layoffs, either, Daniel Zhao, chief economist at Glassdoor, told MarketWatch. “Demand for labor is still extremely high and on the optimistic case, this could mean fewer layoffs as the economy slows,” Zhao said.

“But if there is a recession, employers may have to lay off workers once the rubber hits the streets,” he said.

If you’re worried about a recession and what it means for your job, Koepp has five pieces of advice:

1. Seek benefits

While there has been a shift from employers desperate for employees to fewer employees, there is also a realization that they need to keep employees happy, Koepp said.

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So this is a possible signal for employees to stand up and ask about things that are important to them. While employers have been creative with benefits, compensation and flexibility, that has shifted during the pandemic, experts say.

But things like wellness, mental health, preventing burnout, delivering women’s health benefits, and grooming are all issues that some companies are prioritizing.

“Companies want to be transparent about what they want to advertise, but they are also more exposed to external scrutiny as to how good they are as an employer?” said Köpp.

For example, retail giant Walmart (WMT) recently announced it was partnering with Kindbody to offer fertility benefits to its employees. These include access to in vitro fertilization facilities, fertility preservation, genetic testing and more.

2. Stand up for yourself

Koepp also suggested that employees find ways to make their current work more meaningful.

“You have to do things like find a best friend at work, make friends at work, advocate for new programs and initiatives,” he said.

And it’s extremely important to raise your hand to talk about issues that are pain points or issues that fly under the radar.

Employers “listen more carefully to what people want,” Koepp said. So there’s a benefit that people really need, and “workers need to speak up,” he added.

As we move past the Great Resignation phase and now moving beyond the Great Resistance and Quiet Surrender phases, “we’re in a phase where we’re sort of negotiating what’s next — and people have to stand up for yourself,” advises Köpp.

3. Change begins at home

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If you’re frustrated with your job, look for internal positions that would allow you to move laterally instead of looking outward, which is much easier for companies to manage, Koepp said.

“It’s kind of a win-win situation for workers and companies. What else is there in your company that you would like to do? It’s a lot cheaper for companies to get someone involved in something they’re passionate about than to go out there and hire someone and train them,” he noted.

Companies will try to move people rather than lay them off, he added.

However, a change of sides is politically involved – if your boss finds out about it and doesn’t like it, it could damage your current job. And most importantly, if you don’t get that other job, you’re stuck in a weird position.

4. Meet with the boss

A controversial topic, but one that is becoming increasingly relevant, is the urge to return to work. For some employees who enjoy the comforts of home, it’s frustrating to hear, but it’s likely that showing up to the office a day or two a week can be helpful in keeping your job.

Companies wouldn’t say they have an easier time letting go of people who refuse to return to the office, Koepp said.

But there is something of a proximity bias, he added. “Managers like to see the people they work with and work with them. You feel like you have more control, or at least more knowledge, of what the person is doing,” Koepp explained.

But at the same time, flexibility isn’t lost – remote work has normalized a lot as the pandemic forces everyone to work from home five days a week.

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5. Zoom with your manager

It’s still reasonable to work from home, Koepp said. But that’s getting worse as the world opens up again. But to be clear, if working from home is very important to you, speak up and ask about it, Koepp said.

For many family caregivers in particular, such as working parents or those caring for elderly relatives, working from home has become a genie that comes out of the bottle and can no longer get in.

In such cases, set up a regular video chat with your manager via Zoom (ZM) or Google Meets (GOOGL). It’s good for them to see you in your home office, look professional, and stay busy and engaged. That way, your year in review shouldn’t come up with any surprises.

Remote work allows parents to be more flexible and more involved in their children’s lives. For example, a family can avoid the expense of expensive daycare for their infants and young children because one or both parents can work from home.

“Having that has just been a huge boon to women who are disproportionately caregivers, whether it’s their own children or their elderly or struggling siblings, you name it,” Koepp said.

“And I think staff have to try to find it, negotiate it, where they are,” he added. “It’s just going to be quite, quite disruptive to go back to how things were unless they can.”

If you’re worried about layoffs and a recession, take a deep breath, step back, and take stock of what’s important to you.

Write to MarketWatch reporter Aarthi Swaminathan at [email protected]

-Aarthi Swaminathan


(ENDS) Dow Jones Newswires

10/13/22 1621ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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