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Sequester Survival Tips

Connie and I led a career workshop at an organization hit with a 20% budget decrease because of the sequester. Could you survive a sudden 20% drop in pay? In my latest career advice post for Work Reimagined, I share 3 tips to survive a sequester:

Several years ago, a state university implemented an across-the-board budget freeze in response to reduced federal aid, and staff was requested to take one day off every two weeks without pay – effectively a 10% pay cut. The recent sequester in Washington DC could have similar ripple effects throughout many industries that rely on federal funds for their budget, so we can expect more of these work reductions. Would you be able to survive a sudden 10% or 20% pay cut, or several weeks without pay? Here are three strategies to keep your career on track during a work reduction:

Run the numbers. The most immediate impact will be financial, and you don’t want money worries to detract from your work performance. Don’t just assume that you can get by or that this is a financial disaster. Run the actual numbers and work from the facts: how much will your paycheck decrease; what expenses within your budget are fixed v. variable v. defer-able to a better time. Find out what, if any, resources your employer can offer – e.g., an employee assistance plan may provide a hotline for financial counseling. As an experienced professional, you may have a lot of fixed expenses – school bills, elder care, mortgage payments – so you want to stay in front of the financial issues before they become insurmountable.

Read more tips in my latest career advice post for Work Reimagined: How To Survive A Sequester.