Recession-Proof Your Life is a comprehensive hands-on guide to surviving a recession. Author Lynelle Johnson gives readers the knowledge and tools to take charge and prosper in tough times.
Covers topics such as
job stress - how to deal with increasing hours and workloads
job loss - dealing with redundancy both financially and emotionally
job hunting -how to stand out and get your career back on track
relationships- how to keep them strong under stress
investments during a recession - what to expect and how to profit
managing businesses- boosting employee morale in difficult times.
Based on Lynelle's own experience of the two previous recessions coupled with expert advice from the likes of Anne Hollands (CEO of Relationships Australia) and Bill Evans (GM and Chief Economist of Westpac), Recession-Proof Your Life is a practical guide to getting through an economic downturn.
Lynelle Johnson Originally working as a fine art auctioneer, Lynelle changed careers to become a TV presenter on ABC's For Love or Money. She moved to Channel 9's Burke's Backyard, and then Business Sunday and Sunday. An accomplished journalist, Lynelle has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Good Weekend, The Bulletin, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph. She has also had regular columns in Cleo, Harpers' Bazaar and House and Garden. After 12 years as a journalist Lynelle launched Media Success, an award-winning PR Consultancy firm. Lynelle also served as Chair of the Public Relations Institute of Australia's Consultancies Group. In 2004 Lynelle sold her company and has since been engaged in contract work, most recently as a finance editor for SuperLiving, an online publication for over 45s.
Recession-Proof Your Life
Author: Lynelle Johnson
Price: AU$32.95 / NZ$36.99
Why did you decide to write this book?
Lynelle Johnson : I had lived through two recessions, myself and I was a finance editor in 2007, for an online magazine and I was talking to people who were getting very worried about what was going on in the crisis in the US and I got an inkling that we might have a very big financial issue coming up in the world. I was then approached by John Wiley to write the book. The reason I think it is an important book to write right now is because we have whole generations of people who have never lived through a recession. You have to be in your thirties to have lived and been working in a recession.
Those under thirty, don't understand because they haven't lived through one. They are either doing two things, one they are in denial or they become over-fearful because you don't really know what that means, because friends loose their jobs it becomes clearer.
If you're in a job, you just need to protect yourself from having and not having a job. If you have a job and or you have investments that bring in income, recessions mean nothing. In fact they are a fantastic opportunity to buy stuff. It is all about having an income. We have the lowest interest rates that we've had, there are investment bargains, have you see the travel bargains?
The first thing is preserving your income, that means bulletproofing your job as much as you can and if you are made redundant, how to shorten the time between not having a job and having a job.
How can one gain confidence and be able to re-enter the workforce after losing a job?
Lynelle Johnson : The first thing you have tell yourself is the job that was made redundant, it is about your self esteem, if you are made redundant, it was the job that was made redundant, the position, not you. You have to really keep telling yourself that. If you are in a job interview and you have not worked for a while, because you were made redundant you should actually say "I was made redundant along with ten others", take control of it.
The first thing is don't take it personally, the second thing is say 'look there are still jobs being advertised'. Look at the careers section online, it is not like there are no jobs. People move around for whatever reason.
How can you stand out in a resume or interview?
Lynelle Johnson : You have to get to the interview that is actually the hardest thing. Getting to the interview, once you are in the interview, it is apart of confidence, but you walk through the door with confidence, they want you to be the one. When you walk through the door they are hoping you are the perfect candidate. When you go into the interview, they have a lot of good will towards you, they actually start off wanting you to be the one. The key is to get there. Then in the interview, perform in a way that will make them think that you are the one.
First thing is you have to have a really good resume and if you are not getting interviews and you are sending out lots of interviews, you are either applying for the wrong jobs or your resume is wrong. Get help. It is too soul destroying if you have a bad resume, a resume is a calling card. After seeing that they ask "Am I going to call this person?"
What is your best tip in regards to saving?
Lynelle Johnson : The first thing is, everyone should really have a budget. Everyone should know how much money they have to spend after they pay there rent or the mortgage and all the things you cannot get out of. Therefore you need to know whether you are actually under or over. If you're under, you have to do something about it, you either have to spend less if you are on a fair wage, or you have to get more work, if you are not. That is the first thing you have to do.
If you are on a fair wage, but you are not really saving much, I personally I am lazy in regards to budgeting, I don't do it; but I have actually found some tips that really helped me. Some people love their spreadsheets, I have a girlfriend that got through the last recession with a spreadsheet, she knew how much she had every week to spend, I don't think many of us are actually like that. I have some tips. One is that you can organise a budget, once, and then work out how much you actually have to spend, then make sure you only spend that, lets say its $200.
I just got an iPhone, I bought a brilliant application, 'I spent it', what you do there is enter everything you spend. You put in a budget for the month. You know what your expenses are: coffee, clothes, food and going out. You just add in your expenses as you go for the day. You can use a notepad if you don't have the application on your phone. You have to write down your expenses before your purchase it, then you need to think 'do I really need it or can I substitute something else at home for it?'. You often will say I only have x amount of dollars left and then you know whether you have to put it off or even put it on lay by. If you only have $100 left till the end of the month, you know you can't buy that skirt.
Another thing to do is treat your savings like a diet, if you have it too strict you'll bust. Have a goal, if you haven't got goals you won't be able to reward yourself and saving will be a chore like dieting. The other little tip is to pick a couple of inexpensive spends you always allow yourself, I choose coffee and books, so when I go to spend something else like clothes or a trip or a dinner out, 'I go do I really need it? I've had my coffee.' You have to allow yourself your treats.
Other tips are don't go shopping when you are hungry, don't go shopping even clothes shopping without a list and a budget.
Most people have a problem with work/life balance what is a quick and easy way to attack this problem?
Lynelle Johnson : I know people are working longer hours because they are stressed about their jobs. I think basically within reason you need to cut a bit of slack whilst at work, but not a ridiculous amount. If the bottom line isn't making a profit, you will still loose your job, even if you work your guts out doing three roles. There are forces at work that you can't help or know. Be flexible and positive in a recession. If you are working from 8 in the morning till 8 at night, well, I don't see that it is sustainable. You need to speak about your priorities with your managers. The other thing I say is that you have to prioritise, ask management what of your tasks are a priority. You make sure you do the managers priority first. You can leave things in the in tray and it becomes irrelevant in a weeks time.
Another thing I use is a calendar, I move around a lot in contact positions, I schedule in my exercise and my breaks as an appointment. I will say to people, 'I can't meet you till 11', I won't tell them I am going to the gym. I treat those appointments as important as any other appointments. People to a certain degree don't care, I don't even tell people I am going to the gym, I just have 'an appointment'. My mother said 'never explain'.
What is a quick way to cure stress?
Lynelle Johnson : If you are working overtime or you are frightened about losing your job, or whatever, the first thing you have to do is know that you are stressed. Some people live under such chronic stress and they don't even know anymore that they are stressed. The first thing to do is step back, with all the hormones and adrenalin running through our bodies we always want to do something, the best thing to do if you are stressed is step back and evaluate the situation first. Anything that makes you feel in control reduces stress. Tell yourself that it isn't the circumstances that are causing you stress but your reaction to them, I can choose to react differently, you could tell yourself that you can only do one thing at a time, that you will do your best and that you will not worry about it any further. There are tons of things to say. You need to be in control. If that means stepping back or going for a walk or writing a list, whatever you need, stress is about being overwhelmed. In control means being in control of your own emotions too; if something horrible happens at work, your reaction to it, is causing the stress. Let go of it a bit because you can't control everything, you can only control yourself.
Is it a good idea to start a business in a recession?
Lynelle Johnson : Funnily enough the answer is yes, depending on the business. It needs to be a business with a small start up cost. Your costs need to be quite low and you don't need many clients to get started. I wouldn't be buying something where you are borrowing huge amounts of money to get it started. Anything where you don't actually need a lot of money or a lot of borrowed money to start it. What will happen in a recession is, everyone is looking for a cheaper, smarter and better way to do things. If you go to clients and say 'I can do your printing, you are currently spending x y and z and I can do it for half'. You will get a very good reaction from those businesses. They have to save money, they are not making the money they would in a boom. They are looking everywhere they can cut money, if you have the right offer, you can gain clients. It is about value, cutting the cost for other people for whatever reason. If you survive the recession you have learnt a mean and lean operation, then if you don't let it go to your head, you will be in a very good position.