Experts say the Great Recession is over, but someone forgot to pass the memo around at the office. According to a recent article by DailyFinance, employee confidence is still shaky especially for women and older people. A recent Glassdoor survey showed 1-in-5 employees still fear losing their jobs this year. I wasn't surprised that some employees felt they could get laid off despite the fact that their employers are enjoying the benefits of the economic recovery. I work for a media company that is doing much better now than during the recession. However, I know layoffs and pay cuts are part of the modern work culture.
Instituting unpaid days off
Even though many companies are operating with minimal staff, it seems companies still can find ways to cut the fat. I prefer "hiring freezes" as opposed to layoffs; however, it's difficult for younger people trying to get jobs. According to the survey, 51 percent of the people who experienced negative changes in the workplace reported a change in their salary. Another 22 percent reported a pay cut and 17 percent reported a hiring freeze. I'm one of many employees who has to take furlough days or unpaid days off to help balance the budget for the company. I also got a permanent pay cut last year. I have learned to adjust my spending by making homemade lunches instead of eating out.
Finding better job prospects
According to the survey, 39 percent of workers worried they could not find commensurate work. Employees under the age of 34 were more optimistic about finding a better job within 6 months. It makes sense that older workers are skeptical about being able to replace their current incomes. Older workers have had the benefit of pay raises throughout the years. However, my pay has remained stagnant for about six years. In fact, I'm actually earning less now than I did just before the recession started. At the same time, I know the job prospects aren't good.
Paying into a rainy-day fund
One of the ways that I ease my post-recession job fears is by saving as much as I can into an emergency savings account. I pretend as though I'm paying a bill each month when I put $300 into savings. I don't have enough yet to cover my living expenses if I were to be laid off, but I feel more secure as each month passes. I also take advantage of the company-sponsored retirement fund even though they don't pay a company match. If I were to get laid off, I'd no longer be eligible to contribute to a 401(k). I want to take advantage of the opportunity while it exists. I am particularly fond of the Roth IRA option since I won't have to pay taxes on the earnings when I reach retirement age.
Although I know on one level that the Great Recession is over, I still have lingering doubts about my job security. I've heard that the economy may feel like a Great Recession when a neighbor losing a job, but it feels like a Great Depression when a person loses his or her own job. I'm not sure when I'll stop looking for the ax to fall.
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