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How not to get fired in a bad economy

40 Comments
By Jason de Luca

I don’t care what industry, job title, pay scale or size office you have. Next year, you had better be thinking a big “what if…” when it comes to getting fired, err, sorry, “restructured,” due to what appears to be a worsening recession that is going to last for at least 18 to 24 months.

If you need some supporting data, look outside.

In 2009, no one’s job in Japan will be 100% secure. Despite good performance, there will be cases when people did everything possible to save their jobs but were cut anyway. That is why everyone must have a back-up plan that they work on daily.

Do what you can not to get fired in the first place

  1. Don’t be whiner, complainer or negative energy source. Hard skill sets aside, bosses often fire the people who are most annoying in the office.

  2. Be a proactive team player and never say “that isn’t my job” when you can easily step in and do something helpful to push a project or assignment through by yourself.

  3. Be an expert in your job, not just a “worker.” Know what you are supposed to do and work proactively so management never needs to hold your hand. Take your knowledge of what you do to a higher level.

  4. Volunteer for charity work that your company does. (Or recommend they start, it’s great PR!)

  5. Network heavily in your department/company, whether you work at a small firm or large corporation. The more people who know you and your great attitude, the better your chances are at a transfer rather than a “trip to the bricks.” There may also be a chance to join former colleagues in their new companies, if you ALL get cut.

  6. Speak, read, and write Japanese well. If you can’t, start studying. You live in Japan and there are lots of Japanese people here to practice with. Non-Japanese speaking foreigners require too much hand holding. If you are one of those, you need to understand how much effort (and money) is expended on you every day.

  7. Submit ideas to help your company make bigger profits by avoiding waste. This can be a simple idea for example: text-messaging your sales people when they are on the road instead of calling their mobile phones (which is very expensive or bigger ideas like in-sourcing certain projects to increase profit margins with client engagements. For those at large companies, just take care to “live lightly off the land” and do as much work as you can without constant support from other people.

  8. Study up on your industry and trends to become a serious expert. Get certified in anything related to your industry. Your industry expertise will make you a source of information and that will help you save your job.

  9. Think of ways to help your company get new customers or increase services/product offerings to clients. Even if you are a book-keeper, web designer, network engineer, HR specialist, receptionist, secretary or head window washer, your president should value your opinions and ideas about growing/improving the business. Just make sure you have something intelligent to say.

  10. Don’t gossip, play politics or get involved in any silliness in the office; focus on your work and delivering value.

Prepare yourself in the event you do get fired

  1. Plan out how much money you will make in 2009 (if working at your current job), get an excel spreadsheet and make a spend budget outlining all of your fixed costs. Budget in expenses for simple entertainment, I’m not saying you should live in a prison.

  2. Schedule a few “monk-months” where you live really on the cheap for four weeks, no outside entertainment, no pleasure purchases at all, just dinners at home, hit the gym as usual etc.

  3. Make some savings targets and stick to them. Example: 100,000 yen a month gets tucked into a separate account and you never keep track of how much is there.

  4. Keep two months of living expenses at home in cash in a small metal safe (which can be purchased cheaply and can also protect your passport and other important documents from fire).

  5. Have at least two bank accounts with different banks. (Will there ever be a run on the banks? Your guess is as good as mine.) Housing:

  6. Get a smaller/cheaper apartment or house.

  7. If you are a big night-owl who drinks three nights a week, stop it cold. Instead, invite a few friends over for drinks and a home-cooked meal.

  8. Don’t know how to cook? LEARN.

  9. Get a Tsutaya member card and rent things from DVDs to games; movie tickets for two are 3,600 yen, or just wait for the DVD.

  10. Museums and live events are usually cheap to get into.

  11. Get creative with options for hanging with your mates and family. Simply dropping lots of cash on entertainment is often a sign you don’t have any better idea of what to do.

Travel

It’s a must for an enriched life and quality time with your family and close friends, so do it and enjoy. Just plan and budget for it. Make a budget for where/when you want to go (well in advance), how much it will cost and how your cost cutting will pay for it. Try going off season when you can. There are plenty of online resources for traveling cheap. Transportation

  1. Taxis are for emergencies only. Check out train maps to get where you need to go fast and cheap.

  2. Get a bicycle.

  3. Use your legs more.

Shopping

  1. Buy only what you really need, with cash. Credit cards are for emergencies. If you don’t have the cash for it, you can’t afford it right now.

  2. Electronic gadgets get old after six months, so stop buying them so often. Buy a book, make some friends instead.

Jobs

  1. Look outside your pay scale and industry for other “creative” work options. Expat deals are definitely on the chopping block as are mega salaries, so don’t expect to get the same salary next time.

Health

  1. Stop smoking. It’s good for your health, your wallet (and your breath).

  2. Join a gym with the extra money or start running/jogging on a regular basis.

  3. Stock up on medicines you may need; if you suddenly go broke, you’ll be happy you have them handy.

  4. Eat at home for dinner every night and try to make a bento when you can (for business people this is tough, I know, but try).

Relationships

I left this section for last to highlight a point. In Japan, money is burned up quickly in relationship building and maintenance. When you break it down, the most important things you have in life are the things that don’t cost any money at all. Your spouse and close friends will stick with you even if all you can afford to do is cook together at home, watch DVDs, tell stupid stories and drink cheap beer.

Next year will be a good time for all of us to re-evaluate how we spend our most precious resource, time, not money and to realize that even though we may have to live lean for a bit, we are “rich” with good friends, a healthy family and simple pleasures.

The writer is managing director of Smart Partners KK, a company that offers sales training, consulting, business strategy and financial planning advice.

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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Revenge

With your friends prepare some rampages on treader and other bank executives whom made a huge amount of cash on your back and wasted it all

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Let me sum up this whole article in two words: Don't suck.

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Gee, thanks for the tips

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Tip fail! You can't rent video games in Japan!

I would if I could. But legally they're unable to rent games here, in order to keep the industry's sales high.

CDs, on the other hand, can be copied with ease and ARE rentable. Go figure.

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Save money on cigarettes by second-hand smoking.

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Altria- ha ha that is a good one!

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I think just cutting out Starbucks will allow many to make rent. Sorry Starbucks.

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ronaldk- that is very sound advice. Scary how a simple purchase adds up at the end of the month huh?

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Good article.

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Your spouse and close friends will stick with you even if all you can afford to do is cook together at home, watch DVDs, tell stupid stories and drink cheap beer.

Hmm.... family and friends when you cant afford classy restaurants and expensive beer eh? May be they deserve better!!!

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If you need some supporting data, look outside.

It looks normal outside. For supporting data its better to look a unemployment or sales figures.

Electronic gadgets get old after six months, so stop buying them so often.

That will make the recession worse. If you have money, spend spend spend. If you don't have money, borrow some and then spend spend spend.

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Hello...the 10 tips about not getting fired are rubbish! just bear in mind that the gaijins will go first..no matter how you religiously abide by the 10 rules...

Solution: don't part away with your brilliant ideas that would make you dispensable, unless you are given an assurance that you don't lose your job via a certain form of contract with your employer.

Everyone in a Japanese corporate office gossips, so what the hell?....

Kiss the right arses..!

That's all you need!

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as for money savings, 100yen shop stuff, seiyu stores, make your own bento or dine at company's canteen lunch & dinner. Beer at Tatsu Ichi...!

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don't buy your girl friend lingerie for Christmas. Simply steal it from a balcony or contact your local fire department for some discounted reissues.

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"don't buy your girl friend lingerie for Christmas. Simply steal it from a balcony or contact your local fire department for some discounted reissues"

win

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Anyone want to buy my wife? I need to start saving.

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Don't worry about it. In 100 years everybody on this planet will be different. We'll all be ashes. This economic depression will just be a couple of pages in some kid's historty textbook.

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Er.... you don't get fired because the global economy has gone belly-up. You may get released, made redundant, let go or whatever your HR dept. decide to call it, but not fired. Who writes this stuff?

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I think just cutting out Starbucks will allow many to make rent. Sorry Starbucks.

Or you could live in a lean-to fashioned entirely from Grande Latte cups, like I do.

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How not to get fired? Work for a company in an industry that is expanding. Or the government. Well, those are the same thing, aren't they?

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Or you could live in a lean-to fashioned entirely from Grande Latte cups, like I do.

Great idea. Hey, you know I think I've seen your place.

In the year of the ox I predict Smart Partners goes belly up -along with the economy. Here is my list of suvival tips (all tested):

1) If you gotta go somewhere: walk, it's amazing how healthy you'll be

2) If you miss last train: set up some cardboard

3) If you need a good Mt bike: yahoo auction from 1000 yen or ask around, Japan is the land of over consumption and unloved Mt bikes

4) If you run out of food: ask at the bakery for a bag of bread crusts (likely free, great for French toast, oven pizza)

5) If you gotta have beer: brew your own, cheaper, healthier and tastes great

6) If the power company cuts you off: cook rice in the stairwell until you get it sorted out

7) To bathe: boil some of the water on the stove, more efficient, Bonus: it warms your room

8) To watch movies: find a sympathetic friend with a Tsutaya mail out account and borrow their DVDs Also: Newer city libraries in your area may have movies with viewing booths (cool outing)

9) In case the world economy does come to an end: keep money out of the bank, keep some in an envelope under the tatami.

And last but not least: 10) Have a supply of gold and silver to be able to barter your way onto the last seat of the last plane out of here.

Disclaimer: for amusement purposes only ;-)

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Volunteer for charity work that your company does. (Or recommend they start, it’s great PR!)

Your boss will love it if you increase your company's workload without increasing profits!!!

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Life is too short to drink cheap beer.

But seriously, he forgot to add "shoplifting your dinner from 7-Eleven". That's always an option to save a few Yen.

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I'm surprised he didn't suggest washing your clothes in cold water.

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Life is too short to drink cheap beer.

True, but one's career might be too short to drink too expensive beer. Wine every time!

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Sinple! Don't be a forienger!!!!! Remember Japanese first,scraps for the rest!

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Don’t be whiner, complainer or negative energy source. Hard skill sets aside, bosses often fire the people who are most annoying in the office.

Let's see how many of these compulsive negative posers (misspelling intended) are here online by Q4 2009.

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do not say no to your boss's sexual advances

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If you are strong and healthy you might check out fishing and farming.

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say hai..wakarimashita when being scolded by your boss...:)

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Start your own business.

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The advice on how not to get fired is fine if you are the only one who is worried about losing job. Since you are not the only one, expect a lot of competition and back-stabbing from your fellow workers, unless your company has a strong union.

If your company does not have a strong union you and your fellow workers ought to start a union or hook up with an existing union. That is the best you can do for yourself.

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"Er.... you don't get fired because the global economy has gone belly-up. You may get released, made redundant, let go or whatever your HR dept. decide to call it, but not fired. Who writes this stuff?"

"Fire" is in fact an acceptable usage here. It is a neutral term that means "to be dismissed from a position."

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Sarge- Absolutely right! Noone is safer than someone who can hookup their own deals, create a pipeline of various work projects and the tax write-offs are excellent... The best thing for workers to do is be the best that they can be, study as a habit and not a once off event, and always search for options/chances in the market. And like SARGE says, start your own small business, can be done in a few days!

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I don't appreciate the tone of this article at all. As if it's the small guy's fault this economy went to crap, because they are bad workers or something overly lavish spenders, what about the guys with million dollar bonuses, why don't you write an article for them?.....I guess with a bad economy comes the trickle down effect and the little guy gets the worst deal, a long with finger pointing and a lack of sensibility from the guys on top that have the audacity to tell other people how to live. Don't you think all the above "strategies" are things that people in those precarious situations would obviously figure out themselves? Yeah write an article and state the obvious. How do you still have your job?

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do not say no to your boss's sexual advances

You know, that's a scary one

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Jason de Luca,

Speak for yourself.

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this 1800 yen figure for movies keeps coming up and up and up on 'Japan today' - I go all the time and NEVER pay 1800 yen. It's 1000 or 1200 yen if you are clued on.

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Yeah write an article and state the obvious. How do you still have your job?

Maybe because he's self employed?

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Who cares?? Let's all go out and riot. Then they'll take notice of the little people.

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