Right now, the economy is good and people are stressed out at work. This usually makes the perfect equation for an increase in job jumping. But a new study reveals people are staying put instead of looking for new opportunities. Why? They fear the recession is coming any minute, and they don't want to find themselves unemployed.

The "last in, first out" rule.

If you've been through economic times in the past where unemployment spiked up due to massive layoffs, you've likely heard of the, "Last In, First Out" rule. It means those that have the least amount of tenure at a company are let go first as a way to determine who gets laid off. As an HR professional in the staffing industry during the dotcom bust, I recall this being the mantra of a few employers. However, I wouldn't say it was the universal rule. In fact, many companies chose instead to lay off tenured employees with big salaries so the total number of people affected was lower (i.e., eliminate one employee who makes $100,000/year to save two who make $40,000/year.) 

Go ahead, switch jobs! Just don't be the most expensive.

As a career coach, I tell people if you hate your job right now, definitely find a new one. Trying to hang on because a recession is coming is not the right answer. First, your resentment about feeling held hostage by the situation will only make your attitude worse. Second, while you think you are the master at masking your frustration, you're not. Now, when you do switch jobs, just don't get greedy in the salary negotiations. Do your homework and make sure you are not on the high end of the salary range for your skill set. The more your new employer feels like they are scoring a deal with you, the less likely they'll be to let you go should an economic downturn hit.

P.S. --  Negotiate perks instead of pay.

One technique I have job seekers leverage in uncertain times is negotiating for perks instead of pay. Getting more vacation time, work-from-home options, a reduced-hour workweek, more tuition reimbursement, and other things that improve your life and are worth money to you are a way to feel like you are getting a good deal without overpricing yourself. Keep in mind, you can always build a side hustle to earn extra money -- in fact it is one of the smartest things you can do should a recession arrive soon

Published on: Mar 8, 2019
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