A panel of leading faculty, human resources and executive coaching experts offered tips for protecting job security and facing company downsizing during “How to Recession Proof Your Career,” an event held by the UH Bauer College of Business in November.
Assistant Dean for Career Services Jamie Belinne moderated the panel discussion, which included Steve Werner, an associate professor and doctoral coordinator of the Department of Management, and Randy Webb, professor and director of undergraduate sales studies in the Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship.
Albert Goodman, FMC Technologies Human Resources Division Director, and Gary Selman, founder of Growth and Leadership Solutions and a career coach, were also panelists. The group offered practical advice for obtaining and keeping a job in an economic downturn.
“The question has changed,” Webb said. “The question used to be, ‘Why should I hire you?’ The question is now, ‘Why should I keep you?’”
The best way to ensure job security is to have enthusiasm and to develop genuine relationships with supervisors and co-workers, he added, noting the importance of a “can-do attitude.”
“You can hire attitude and train skills,” Webb said. “People want to be around people who energize them, people who have passion. The reason people are kept when there’s downsizing is the relationships they’ve developed and their interpersonal skills.”
The other panelists agreed. “It’s a bit like the Olympics,” Goodman said. “You get technical points, but there are style points, too.”
He also pointed out the importance of networking. “(If you are laid off), the first thing you do is make a list of all the people you know,” Goodman said. “People will help you when you’re knocking on doors.”
Being flexible is also an integral part of finding and keeping a job, the group members said. “If you are going to be successful in any business environment, get on board with change,” Selman said. “You’re constantly going to grow, constantly going to stretch, constantly going to go out of your comfort zone.”
Werner advised that employees who have been downsized should not wait too long to begin their job searches. “Start right now,” he said. “The temptation is to wait those six months, collect unemployment and then start looking. But you’ve got to look at getting a new job as your new job.”
Even in an uncertain economic environment, there are growth industries looking to hire new employees, Werner added. Industries like health care, education, security/police and government are thought to be more “recession proof,” he said.
“Luckily in Houston, two main industries are energy and health care, and both of those are relatively recession proof,” Werner said. “I’d say, ‘don’t panic.’ The probability is you’ll be OK in Houston.”
The panel was the second discussion Bauer College held for the university community to gain insight and ask questions about the current economic situation. The first, “Bailout: What’s Next?” was held in October.
By Jessica Robertson
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.
About the Bauer College of Business
The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.