Can you recession-proof your job?
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Whether you believe that Big Macs or RV sales predict recessions, it seems at least that the continued talk of a recession is certainly on the horizon. Yet, with more of us gainfully employed and the job market so seeker-friendly, should we care?
Yes; just like how it is easier to find a job when we already have one, it is easier to plan for a recession when we are not in one. Here are a few things to consider when trying to recession-proof your job.
Unicorns, elves and recession-proof jobs
The first thing to consider is whether it is even possible to recession-proof a job. While many experts agree on what types of jobs are recession-proof, many more of us are not in those jobs. So what can we do — if anything — to shore up our employment should a recession hit?
A great place to start is understanding why those experts agree on which jobs are safer. A quick glance at the lists illustrates some common trends. First are those jobs that provided services that are needed regardless of whether people have money in their pockets. Healthcare is a more apparent player in this category, but it also includes senior care, pharmacy-related work and mental healthcare.
The second commonality is sustainability; think of this as the energy we need to work. This group includes the actual energy industry powering what we all do every day, but it also includes internet-based business, remote workers and other options that provide continued value at a lower energy cost.
Playing with FIRE
Similarly, finding a way to invest, save and cut costs at the same time on a personal level can provide additional peace of mind. For example, consider the financial independence/retire early people (FI/RE).
Whether their motivation is to avoid the impact of a recession or to spend their middle years on a tropical beach, FIRE followers embrace principles that could also serve the rest of us well should a recession hit.
Specifically, FIRE folks talk often of what they do at work to ensure they can retire early. These principles include maximizing the benefits of the current workplace, like healthcare, retirement investing with matches, pay in lieu of time off, working extra hours for extra pay, and/or stepping up their hustle with side jobs.
It is often the case that making FIRE a priority means that many of them adopt a work-extremely-hard/save-as-much-as-possible mentality.
While not all of us will adopt this approach to that extreme, the idea of finding a way to optimize our current benefits, shore up our savings and pay down our debts is one with which it is hard to argue.
The bottom line is that recession talk will continue and, while it is still talk for now, we can take advantage of the current positive economic situation to prepare. Whether that means rethinking our budgets and adding a second job or doubling down at work by becoming more valuable in ways that our company will need regardless of an economic hit, now is the time to take action.
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