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Career Q&A: The Upside to the Down Economy

Coach Lauren Zander answers your job search and career questions. This week: using the current climate to your advantage

My colleagues and I at the Handel Group will be answering your questions about job-search and career-related issues at the Coaches Corner at BusinessWeek. Please e-mail us so we can help you find solutions. (Read our previous Q&A about what interviewers want to hear.)

How can I use the current economic climate to my advantage in my current job?

Be the inspiration in your company. Be a leader. If you notice someone is unhappy or stuck in a negative cycle, try to help him or her. Be the one who rallies people. This is the best time to make real teams and alliances with the genuine heroes who want to win, even against the odds.

Turn the perspective around: Focus on the achievement and challenge of the "underdog" winning, and get people excited and inspired about the idea of triumphing in—and despite of—hard times. Long after the tough times pass, you will be remembered and known and appreciated for being that kind of champion. Innovation and hard work combined with that spirit will win the day. If you don't fall prey to fear you will end up shining, because many people are going to go down with the fear. If you instead represent courage and fortitude and remain focused, it will do you good now and in the future.

Lauren Zander is the co-founder and chairman of the Handel Group, an executive coaching and personal life coaching company based in New York City. Lauren has developed and is currently in her third year teaching a popular and groundbreaking course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Designing Your Life. The Education Division of Handel Group will soon be implementing similar courses at New York University and Rutgers University.

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