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Career survival in a tough economy

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Glenford Smith, Career Writer

Glenford Smith, Career Writer

The new tax increases by the Government announced in the Budget debates will negatively affect your finances. Paying more taxes and paying more for regular goods and services at a time when your wages are kept constant mean less money to spend, save and invest.

Not just that. It means you're more likely to experience greater stress as you try to make ends meet financially.

A failure to manage frustration, fear and worry can have adverse effects on your work performance and career generally. The inescapable fact is that what happens in your financial life significantly affects your career.

When you're deeply in debt, or just struggling from pay cheque to pay cheque, you might find yourself getting angry and irritable for no reason. You might start forgetting things.

You might start experiencing feelings of depression and become antisocial. You might find it hard to concentrate on your tasks, as your mind wanders away repeatedly to your money problems.

irascible attitude

All this is a recipe for career disaster. Your irascible attitude could turn off co-workers, friends, bosses, and customers, for instance. Or lack of concentration could result in an error that costs you or your company a lot of money.

Depression often results in lower motivation to go to work on time and be fully engaged while there.

To nullify the likely effects of the tougher economy, it is wise to consider taking some practical steps. First of all, focus on developing greater self-mastery and problem management skills for your personal and professional survival. Specifically, you must improve your capacity to manage emotional stress.

Start by realising that you are in control of your life; external circumstances don't have to control your destiny. You can choose how to respond. Remind yourself that you do have a choice in how you respond to whatever happens to you.

The next thing is to cut back on your expenditures. If you really look, you'll find areas where you can save a $500 or $1,000 here and there, which you don't have to spend.

One woman told me she disconnected her cable since she was at work most of the time anyway. Another disconnected her land phone because, she said, all her family had cellphones.

Another area you can target for cutting back is travel. Petrol is a major expense in every family. By reducing your time on the road, you're keeping money in your pocket.

Another strategy to consider is how you can make more money. Cutting back is fine, but ultimately, you'll want to increase your capacity to earn more money. What skill or talent do you possess or could develop to start making some money with? What opportunities are there at work for gaining a promotion, or for securing some overtime?

Never forget that times of crisis are not there to destroy you. They are just an inevitable aspect of life we all have to deal with. Those who consciously plan how to adapt to changing economic realities however, gain a huge survival edge over those who don't.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of a new book 'From Problems to Power: How to Win Over Worry and Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities'. Send feedback to