Career Q&A: The Upside to the Down Economy

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.

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