Ways to help you hold onto a job through a tough economy

If you're waking up every day a little worried about job security, it's hard to focus and keep stress at bay. So what can you do? Plenty.

The key to reducing anxiety about your job is to take back some control over your situation. Here's how to make your job more secure and go home every night feeling more confident.

This may sound ridiculous, but you'd be amazed at how little people actually work when they are at work.

Between coming in a few minutes late, taking multiple coffee breaks, chatting with co workers about "Mad Men" and the game last night, going on longer-than-an-hour lunch breaks, surfing the web, paying bills, making personal calls, complaining and/or gossiping and then leaving a few minutes early to beat traffic, the average workers probably puts in maybe four good hours tops every day. So, if you want to look good, stop all that, and start working. You'll be finishing projects quicker, handing them in faster and getting noticed.

At meetings stop taking a corner chair and doodling on your phone. Instead, pay attention like you actually care and offer some thoughts, even if you just ask questions or have someone clarify something, it shows you're participating and interested in helping move things along.

One good question or idea can make your boss notice you over others.

Stop just doing your day-to-day tasks. Offer to help anyone and everyone that you hear complaining about being swamped or too busy for lunch. Jump in and help them.

Sure it may take a few minutes of their time to show you what to do, and you may end up having to do some menial tasks, but in the end, you'll learn more, become more valuable in the office for your knowledge and actually help out your coworkers — and that's a bonus.

Start thinking about plan B anyway. It's healthy to think about other careers even in the best economy. This may not be your calling in life... who knows!

Think of other things you could do, or want to do and start researching how you could make that happen. Maybe take a class at night towards the goal of a new career.

Ask a friend in that field to let you know if any freelance work pops up or go to a temp agency and let them know you're available for nights and weekends. You never know what this may lead to and if you never need the fallback, great — you've learned a few things and earned some money. If you do need it, you'll be well on your way to your next great success.

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