How to thrive during recession?


“It is a rough road that points you to greatness”.  -Seneca

Top of every person’s mind is how to ride the recession? Backed with Fear and anxiety this is the biggest destroyer of peace of mind. More than the fear of recession it is the consequence of losing a job, unable to meet expenses, feeling unworthy, loss of lifestyle, how to pay loan installments are the real fears in mind. A person fights them every day in his mind, since it is a virtual battle and situation doesn’t change in reality this battle is always won by the other party.

Recession is an impact of falling dollar value leading to high commodity prices, reduction of purchasing power of people, leading to reduction in demand. The bigger impact of recession is borrowers unable to pay back lenders, companies producing less due to rising costs and decreasing demand. Since the cost inputs have gone up and the revenue has gone down companies downsize their staff. Other than directly revenue generating areas, staffs in these areas are cut first. People now also have to work long hours & take more work. If there is at

What is the solution? How could one live a peaceful life without this fear haunting him?

Let us draw the solution in some easy to follow steps in our daily practice:


Understand this is an external event, something beyond your control. Externalizing it takes off the pressure. Once the resistance to the event goes away the rational thinking kicks in.


Now flip the event to see it as opportunity. People get outrageous when they hear this. How could recession be positive? It is taking away our jobs, making us unhappy. It is still an opportunity. How? During recession people go back to what they used to do 100 years ago. They used avoid unwanted expenses. They saved some money. They worked out better ways to manage their monthly expense budget. It wasn’t being miser. People adopt new habits. They may prefer to walk a few distances instead of taking a cab or use their car as less as possible. What it results is in to good walking exercise, knowing people as you may interact on the way. As you talk to more people you may hear of a new job opening somewhere or an overseas job that is in the offering.

Other positive effect of recession is for those who wish to start a business on their own. Since the startup cost is low and so is operational cost many budding entrepreneurs launch startups during recession. Microsoft, Apple, KFC were all launched during recession period. They had big idea and low budget.

For people in jobs, they could learn new skills. Usually when the economy is doing well there is a demand for your existing skills, but then one gets complacent with it and stops learning new skills. Only 1 in 10 people actually acquire skills successfully and use them. Many new courses open up during recession period as training institutes know that people would be looking for learning new skills to earn their bread and butter. Due to competition many of them offer courses at cheaper rates which would otherwise cost several thousand dollars.


Once you manage your budget (outflow), learn new skills, network with people you create greater possibility of creating a better future managing the present. Now you need to be patient and wait for the right opportunity to knock door.

We see opportunities mostly within 100 miles of our house. This thinking has to change. There are many opportunities outside. There are people looking for the skills you have and they can’t find the right candidate. It’s just that they have never met you and vice versa. Advertise your skills like crazy. Talk to people. The best marketing tool in the world – Talking to people.

Time Management.

We learn the importance of better time management during recession. Better time management can be accomplished by right prioritization of tasks. If you aren’t clear about how you are going to spend your day, you might be wasting a lot of time. Unplanned day creates more work.

To set right priorities make a to-do list and match it up with your goals. Stick to doing activities related to to-do list. You may also make a not-to-do list to avoid wasting time. Typically my not-to-do list is not checking mails in the morning. Checking mails doesn’t produce anything other than informing. Hence I do it in the latter half of the day.


Give as many interviews as possible, however do not apply for any job that comes your way. If one applies for any job, he wouldn’t enjoy it even if gets it and eventually he will be kicked out. You may not get through a few interviews, but that’s ok. Every interview you get better and increase probability of clearing it. Once you come home from interview write down what went well, what did not go well, how can it be improved, what steps you would need to take to master it.

In parallel, start publishing your articles on the web on the social networking sites. Let people know about your creativity. You may get some good referral.

Spend time reading. Now, reading to some people is a pain, yet the payoff is good if you spend at least ½ hour each day reading about your field of interest, you have to prioritize what you are going to read about. For e.g. If I am looking for a Managers position in IT I would read about what other managers are doing in their fields, what are the new initiatives at companies like Apple, Google. These companies invest in innovation and they have programmes for people who are interested in working on those projects. They usually do not advertise in media.

Reading biographies of successful people is a very powerful tool. Success leaves clues. You would get solution to one of your mind-blocks.


Receive! Once you make all the efforts in the above 4 steps and show patience, opportunities show up. You’re learning elevates and you become a different or a better person. Do not accept offer from the first company who gives you offer unless you are desperate. Check how the company is, what the growth opportunities are, what is its culture, does it match your thinking. Employment opportunity is a mutually beneficial opportunity. The company that hires people is investing in them and hence when they get good people they prosper. So, never ever think that the company is doing a favor to you by offering a job.

If you aren’t sure whether the company would be good match for your career then volunteer to work as apprentice for 1-2 months. After this period you may choose to continue with full time employment or look elsewhere.

Note for those who wish to start up their own company:

During recession you may also have limited budget. Hence it is important to focus more on sustainable Cash flow generation rather than one time payoff.

Keep costs low, yet those that have high payoff, one needs to invest in. For e.g. investing in marketing tools, is needed.

Keep the business as lean as possible. Along with keeping it lean it also has to be scalable. If you receive an order 10 times higher of your regular production capacity you should be in a position to produce more in given time. Scalability comes from knowing how to secure resources on short notice.

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