Working Wounded: The Sky Is Not Falling

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Dear WOUNDED: The recession has got me scared.

ANSWER: Fear. It's tough to not fear for your job during a recession. But it makes us think about turkeys. Contrary to urban legend, turkeys don't look up with their mouths agape during a rainstorm and drown. But when frightened by a storm, they will run into a corner, pile up and suffocate each other. Turkeys are not drown-in-the-rain dumb, but they also aren't be-calm-in-a-storm smart either.

Today's recession can make anyone feel like a turkey. It's possible to survive these stormy economic times, but you've got to start with a little self-evaluation. Below we've outlined three "fowl" coping strategies along with one that can bring soaring success. Check out our detailed action plan at www.PayScale.com/recession.

DON'T—Chicken Little. The sky is falling! Watch the news—it's full of stock market malaise, foreclosures, layoffs—it feels like the sky already fell. But, let's put it in perspective. America has survived recessions before, and so will you. On average, the U.S. has undergone a recession every five years since WWII (we looked up recession history!). We're all recession pros, not chickens. If Chicken Little had created recession survival strategies instead of hysteria, he could have helped his friends instead of being the loon.

DON'T—Ostrich. It can be tempting during a recession to stick your head in the sand. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, it's one way to cope during a bad economy. But just because you don't see the danger doesn't make it disappear. So unlike the ostrich, you'll want to keep your eyes wide open and looking for opportunities. Even during an economic recession, people still get hired, companies still buy supplies and CEOs still get paid way too much.

DON'T—Buzzard. We've all seen the buzzard, the person who is so sure their company is on its last legs that he's already assembling his own personal severance package — one box of Post It Notes at a time. The buzzard is not thinking about moving forward to what's next for his career. He just circles the carcass and waits. We've always believed it's more productive to move forward and fly on to your next opportunity.

DO—Eagle. Our winning recession strategy isn't because the eagle is our national bird or because it's featured in the opening of the Colbert Report. It's because eagles know the storm is coming before other birds and they use the storm's winds to rise above the trouble. While others merely weather a recession, you can rise above it. Create a "contingency" career. Talk to competitors. Look for projects and other moonlighting opportunities. Don't restrict your search to your own zip code (telecommuting is more popular than ever).

So learn how to fly like an eagle, soar above tough economic times and you won't become recession history.

Thought for the Week

"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear." — Mark Twain

List of the Week

How's your mental health…Reasons people take mental health days at work

82% report they take mental health days off work .

30% because of a family or relationship issue.

20% because of work stress or workload issues.

15% because of personal issues.

12% because of lack of physical energy or well being.

5% because of boredom or a lack of motivation.

From: Compsych

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