Tips for contractors feeling unsettled during uncertain times

Dealing with feelings of nervousness as a contractor during times of market uncertainty, recession, pandemics, and looming government elections can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways you can stay positive and set yourself up for success.

Our specialist IT Recruitment Consultant, Rita Forsythe, has some tips for contractors feeling under pressure or unsettled in the current market:

1. Stay informed but avoid excessive media consumption: It's important to stay updated on the current economic and political landscape, but constant exposure to negative news can fuel anxiety. Set specific times to catch up on the news and focus on reliable sources, avoiding excessive media consumption that can heighten your worries.

2. Focus on what you can control: While you can't control the state of the economy or the outcome of elections, you can control your own actions and responses. Direct your energy towards things within your control, such as updating your skills, networking, and exploring new opportunities.

3. Declutter: Ensure your inbox and files are in order and that your workspace is free from clutter and ready to go. When was the last time you updated or refreshed your CV, portfolio, or LinkedIn page? You’d be surprised how much a fresh space or ‘coat of paint’ can help with feeling more positive.

4. Diversify your skill set: In times of recession, it can be beneficial to broaden your skill set and increase your marketability. Identify areas where you can enhance your expertise or learn new skills that align with market demands. This can provide you with a competitive advantage and open new possibilities.

5. Build a strong professional network: Networking is crucial during uncertain times. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with colleagues and mentors old and new who can offer support, advice, and potential job leads. Building a robust professional network can provide a safety net and increase your chances of finding new opportunities. You could also ask your previous managers or colleagues to give you a testimonial or reference to add to your LinkedIn page or CV – this is not just a great confidence booster but will help other potential employers see your value!

6. Focus on personal development: Use the downtime during a recession to invest in your personal development. Take online courses, attend workshops, or acquire certifications that can enhance your knowledge and skills. This continuous improvement can make you more resilient and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances. This is also a good chance to meet other professionals and do some research on companies you may want to work with in the future.

7. Maintain financial stability: Take steps to ensure your financial stability by creating a budget, reducing unnecessary expenses, and building an emergency fund. Having a financial cushion can alleviate some of the stress and provide a sense of security during uncertain times.

8. Practice self-care: Prioritise self-care activities to manage stress and anxiety. Engage in regular exercise, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and incorporate relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Taking care of your physical and mental well-being is essential for resilience.

9. Seek support: Don't hesitate to reach out for support when you need it. Talk to friends, family, or trusted colleagues about your concerns. Sometimes, simply expressing your feelings and concerns can provide relief, and others may offer valuable perspectives or insights. If you are working with a recruitment agency, reach out to your consultant and make a time to catch up to chat about your concerns or ask for their advice.

Remember that economic downturns and political changes are cyclical, and they eventually pass. By focusing on what you can control, developing your skills, and maintaining a positive mindset, you can navigate these challenges with greater resilience. At Peoplebank, we are here to support you through your career, and set you up to succeed, so get in touch with us if you need support or reach out to your consultant if you are already working with us – we’re here to help!