Dollars and Sense: Jobs

What Will MBAs Do Now?

The turmoil on Wall Street will have a marked impact on the job prospects for this year's crop of MBA students, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Several firms have already cancelled scheduled recruiting visits to the top business schools that typically funnel new talent into their ranks, according to a recent New York Times article. Despite recent measures to prop up the financial sector, it is unlikely that these actions will improve the MBA job market by May. Soon-to-be graduates who had set their sites on Wall Street will have to look elsewhere, including limited opportunities at hedge funds, private equity firms and venture capital companies.

More Americans Forced to Delay Retirement

A growing number of older Americans' retirement nest eggs have been dealt a staggering blow by the financial crisis. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that stock market losses had vaporized $2 trillion in retirement funds. Many will have to work longer than they planned to make up for the losses. Many more will have to come out of retirement.

How To Recession-Proof Your Job: Solidify the relationship with your boss. If the relationship with your supervisor is need of repair, now is the time to do it. Take steps to ensure that whatever characteristics or factors inspired your boss to hire you are still recognized.

Be an expert and a generalist at the same time. Knowing more than anyone else on a specific issue or topic will help make you the "go-to" person for anyone in the company who has a question on that subject. However, you also want to be well-versed in many areas of your company so that managers see you as being able to contribute in a variety of ways.

Seek assignments on core projects. Find a way to be part of long-term projects that are core to the company and more likely to survive a downturn.

Meet your boss's bosses and peers. Go out of your way to meet those at or above your supervisor's level in the company.

Carry the company flag. If job cuts become necessary, employers are more likely to keep workers who are "true believers" in the company's mission.

Strive for more face time. You may be accustomed to telecommuting or working a flexible schedule that allows you to arrive late or leave early (as long as your work is done). Those days are over. It is critical to have face time with your supervisors in order to be seen and heard.

Be prepared for job loss. Make sure you are well-positioned to find a job quickly following job loss. Expand your professional and social network through trade associations, sports leagues and other organizations.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
150 South Wacker Drive
Suite 2700
Chicago, Illinois 60606

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