You’ve probably heard grumblings through the media of a possible recession looming on the horizon. That’s right, the r-word has surfaced once again. Mix high oil prices with the sub-prime mortgage debacle and BOOM! Job growth ceases, downsizing occurs, jobs get harder to find, things get more expensive, and people get irate. Some people will keep their jobs. Some will have to downgrade their jobs. Some will find themselves in the unemployment line. Sounds pretty scary, doesn’t it? Of course, it’s all just predictions right now, but it definitely has everyone thinking: “Am I ready?” How can you safeguard yourself from the sweeping hand of recession?

On top of putting some money away for a rainy day, you should improve your value and marketability as an employee and as a job-seeker. A great way to do this is, of course, education. What is the difference between those who get laid off and those who don’t? One is vital to the running of the business and one isn’t; one adds significant value to the company and one is expendable. What is the difference between the people who are able to secure gainful employment during a recession and those who can’t? One has the attributes and skills attractive to employers above and beyond those of other job-seekers and the others don’t. Survival of the fittest goes to work during a recession. Those who can promise and produce value for their employers will stay afloat; those with inferior qualifications or performance will sink.

Therefore, the secret to employment survival during a recession is qualification enhancement or, simply put, education. You want to make yourself as marketable and indispensable as possible. You can do this by learning new skills, obtaining new degrees, certificates, or licenses, and then making a difference in your workplace.

Education is great insurance and it’s not as hard to get as it looks. Most universities and community colleges offer night classes and certificate programs for busy full-time professionals. A plethora of online schools are available 24/7 and can be planned around your schedule. Even better, many employers offer tuition assistance as long as the education is applicable to their industry (caveat: basketweaving will probably not be covered).

Now is the time to get ready for recession, not while you are standing in line at the unemployment office debating whether you want to clean toilets or flip burgers. Improve your skills and qualifications today, and you will be glad you did tomorrow.

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