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Sas Gupta

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Saikat has over 15 years of experience in providing career and education consultation to thousands of students and professionals across the globe. Many of his former candidates hold senior positions in top multinationals. He was the Head of career services at Bayt.com and played a key role in its growth. His body of work also includes a host of articles, seminars and interviews.

How to Recession Proof Your Career

The one overriding concern that has occupied the thoughts of professionals across the globe over the past few years has been the Damocles sword of possible redundancy. Whereas most of us– as individuals – feel somewhat powerless before the vagaries of the market, the right career choices (or at least career decisions based on the right logic) can go a long way in ensuring that we can as professionals make ourselves recession proof.

To understand the whole process in a logical flow we do a top down analysis of what it takes to be “recession proof”. These guidelines will be specifically useful for parents whose wards are in high school; and are on the verge of selecting a career and a college.

  1. Good times or bad, nothing lasts forever. Just as growth, periodic recessions are an integral part of any economy. Accepting this truth is the first step.
  2. Understand the psychology of organizations. Organizations incur a substantial cost in recruiting and training people, so retrenching human resource is usually a last resort. However during financially tough times when reducing overheads becomes a necessity, the hierarchy of redundancy is determined by the specific personnel’s cost to the organization (CTC) vis-à-vis their direct or indirect contribution to the “bottom-line”. So the best way to ensure continued relevancy in an organization is to stay ahead on the productivity curve.
  3. How to stay Productive? Being Passionate about what one does = Being good at what one does. In other words make sure you have chosen a career for the right reasons. The ranks of redundant workforce usually comprises of those professionals whose choice of a specific discipline was dictated by what – is/was “in demand”; or the “financial prospects” or the “glamour”; or “respectability etc – i.e. almost every possible reason other than the all important one – “whether they were passionate about their chosen career. A great rule to go by – when extraneous factors threaten to cloud your judgment about a choice of career – is that “It is always better to be the best in a mediocre field, than be mediocre in the best field”.
  4. Have a career NOT just a job. Your career defines who you are; it is your value addition to the organization you work for; and in a larger context your contribution to the society at large. The definition of a career is far broader and goes beyond just the “job” you hold, your designation in an organization; or the size of your pay-check – these are but some indicators of your degree of success in your chosen career.
  5. Make changes for the right reason: It is an accepted fact that your priorities in life and career will change, however it is imperative that you make a change for the right reasons, i.e. not just based on – “well meant and practical advice” from well wishers or “the frequent gold rushes” that grip the certain industry sectors from time to time.
  6. A good education goes a long way in “recession proofing ones career”.  Whereas most of the aforementioned aspects can be addressed and influenced entirely by your approach to career in general, making the right choices about your higher education provider is crucial, because – you cannot influence or change the quality of education an entity offers; but you do have the power to make the right choice at the onset. Remember it is a choice you will be “stuck with” possibly for the rest of your life.
  7. Understand what a good education entity is supposed to be: What constitutes a good educational entity is often misunderstood, and is solely based on infrastructural accompaniments (like laboratories and classrooms) that an entity possesses –these are aids to enhancing the quality of education provided. The most important factors that an education provider should be judged on is its emphasis and ability to create an environment that encourages or in fact demands -a genuine passion about the chosen discipline from students and faculties alike, a continuous exchange of ideas, a research oriented, knowledge seeking mindset among its students and a renowned faculty that is actively involved in research while pursuing active ties and collaboration with respective industry segments.

Though it is never too late to take stock of one’s career, ideally this is a continuous process and the sooner one starts at the  formative years of one’s career, during high school or right after it.

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