If you’re one of the lucky ones with a lucrative job right now, good for you! However, in these rocky economic times job security can be as fickle and fleeting as a high school romance. It’s nice to think that you’ll be at the same company forever, but unless you don’t mind being suddenly unemployed you should come up with a contingency plan while you still have a job.

Ironically, assuming you could be let go at any time may spare you from being laid off, even if your company drastically downsizes. Because unless your company goes completely under, your employer will need to keep at least a few people around in order to run the show. And you know which employees he’ll keep? The indispensible ones that are flexible and easy to work with, according to Primer Magazine. Hence, the trick to staying employed at your current job is to make yourself as valuable (or invaluable) as possible.

So if you enjoy your present employment and relish having a steady paycheck, here are three things you can do while you’re still employed to help stack the deck in your favor if you fear a dastardly downsizing may be on the horizon:

Don’t Get the Big Head

Okay, so you graduated from college in the top of your class and out performed everyone else the first few years of your career. Never mind that Bruce Willis still had hair at the time and Nirvana topped the charts. Back then the economy was as strong as Mark McGuire on steroids, so of course everyone was telling you how wonderful you were.

But times have changed and now companies lay off starting with the biggest salaries. Therefore, the smart employee stays humble and recognize that anyone from the president on down to the night janitor can be let go at a moment’s notice. According to the boutique resume writing service Fresh Resumes overly confident employees who don’t go the extra mile are the first to go in a lay off no matter who they may be. So don’t walk around the office all cocky like you’re the only guy with a lifeboat on a sinking ship. Instead remain productive, positive, and supportive, which means NOT engaging in gloom and doom “what-if” scenarios around the water cooler.

And by all means, update your resume. It’s much more fun to reflect on your career while you still have one.

Don’t Be a Dinosaur

I know a salesman who refuses to make sales calls or do any business over the Internet because he feels face-to-face meetings are a better way to connect with customers. He’s his company’s oldest salesman. He’s also had the least amount of sales in the last year.

Fact: Technology has changed the way we do business. You have to change along with it, even if it feels foreign to you. That means getting up to speed on social networking, staying current on hardware, upgrading your software, learning new programs, signing up for classes, improving your customer service skills, blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it all before, so do it. And do it now while you can still afford to pay for it. Staying current in technology is not cheap. You don’t want to have to pay to improve your skills when you can barely afford oatmeal.

Look for new opportunities

Yes, you’re probably quite snug and complacent in your current job, but is it really the most secure position in your company? There may be other departments that are much more safe from lay offs and if that’s the case consider asking for a transfer BEFORE the inevitable reorganization. It’s much better if the decision to make a move is yours and not some bean counter who was brought in to streamline the company.

In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look around your entire industry and see if there are other opportunities available to you. I’m not advocating changing jobs like Paris Hilton changes BFFs, however, don’t be afraid to kiss your old job goodbye if you catch a lucky break. Yes, you may have a sense of loyalty to your company, but honestly, if the time comes when they can’t afford to keep you, do you really think your bosses will risk the financial health of the company just so you can have a job? (If you answer Yes to that then you deserve to be laid off.)

So instead of sitting on your laurels, congratulating yourself on remaining employed in a bleak economy use this time wisely to lay the groundwork for possible changes in your employment status, just in case. Think of it like those people who write wills when they’re 25 and then live to be 100. Fate just seems to reward those who plan ahead.

Do you have a strategy to maintain job security in a down market? Even though it may be specific to your industry we’d love to hear it. (And if you have a funny suggestion on how anyone can avoid being laid off, then we want to hear that even more!)

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