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Standing Out in a Challenging Economy

In spite of society's dependency on the sciences to maintain a high quality of life, science professionals are not immune from the realities of the current economic downturn.

by Rich Pennock
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In spite of society’s dependency on the sciences to maintain a high quality of life, science professionals are not immune from the realities of the current economic downturn. While the challenges of holding on to scientific positions are greater today than they have been in decades, it is certainly not impossible for scientists and managers to remain in their positions long term. By applying certain ideals daily, you can maintain your job well into the future as you build your career.

In the meantime, what should you do if you or your employees have had multiple years of experience but are still concerned about layoffs, due not to performances, but to your company’s financial situation? It is important that you maintain and even improve your outlook, work ethic, and goals in order to survive and thrive as a science professional, even during the most challenging of times. Your ability to handle today’s economic crisis will also affect your employees and impact their job performances.

Maintain positivism

Whatever your organization’s current economic condition, your day-to-day positive outlook may be the most important ingredient for your success and growth in the scientific community. While it is certainly understandable that the current times may encourage a pessimistic view, high performers will strive to move forward while focusing on the positives of global situations as well as their current positions and work environments. The most successful individuals are able to look at negative situations as opportunities for personal growth and as challenges to work to the best of their abilities. Positivism will withstand any recession.


As a manager during a recession, your ability to multitask is essential to your company’s ability to succeed. Managers, along with their employees, must extend themselves beyond their primary job roles and seek out additional responsibilities. As you begin to incorporate more roles into your position, you will be able to expand your skill set and deliver more value to your organization. When you seek challenges to expand your own knowledge and skills, your employees will observe your desire to take on more responsibilities and will be motivated to follow your example. I strongly suggest taking advantage of training to gain fresh ideas and extensive experience.

Increase visibility

As a manager, you are responsible for increasing your organization’s visibility in the scientific community. Increased visibility during a recession is necessary in order for a company to stand out among competitors. There are various ways in which you can increase your company’s visibility, ranging from the use of existing social networking websites or creation of new websites to the production of monthly public newsletters to involvement in charities. By continually increasing your exposure within the scientific community, you will have an edge over your competitors. This edge will, of course, improve job security for both you and your employees.

Training is an option that managers and employees should consider in order to gain both visibility and experience. Through seminar participation, employees can learn ways in which they can improve their soft skills and public speaking abilities. As employees continually improve their skills, your organization’s visibility will increase.

Exceed expectations, strive for excellence

Your goal must be to not only survive during the recession, but thrive as well. In order to not only maintain your current level of employment, but also possibly seek a promotion, your energy level and productivity must exceed the expectations of your managers every day. You must go above and beyond all that is expected in order to earn and keep respect. As you strive for excellence, you must expand your knowledge. Since you are a high performer, no task is too large for you. You want to learn and grow as a person. The difference between individuals who are promoted and those who leave is usually their eagerness for success and learning as well as their acceptance of failure. As you strive for excellence, you will certainly encounter your share of failures as well. The ways in which you handle adversity can impact the course of your career.

While you may have little control over the condition of the economy, you can certainly improve your marketability and thrive in your current position. Maintain a positive outlook, be willing to increase your responsibilities and your organization’s visibility, and exceed everyone’s expectations, including your own. Tough times never last. However, positive-minded people do.

Websites that offer free training: