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Volatile Job Market Demands Action

If you have even the faintest suspicion that your company is about to merge, consolidate, downsize or sell out, don’t just stand there.

Do something.

The first time you get the slightest clue that your division may be eliminated or that your company is beginning to lose its market share, start planning what you’re going to do.

This is no time for shock or self-pity: The secret of survival in today’s anorexic job market is to be aggressive. Don’t just sit there and wait for the ax to fall.

“If you don’t take responsibility for yourself, no one else will. It’s that simple,” said Mark Dresner, executive vice president of Infinite Technology Group Ltd., a $13 million company in Mineola, N.Y., that supplies computers to businesses.

Dresner, 39, took his own advice in 1989 when he was a software specialist for one of the country’s largest computer manufacturers. The executive, who has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in computer science, had worked for the giant corporation since 1986.

Though he wasn’t threatened with downsizing at the time, Dresner saw things starting to slow down. He talked the situation over with James McGowan, 40, a colleague on his sales team.

“We had similar goals,” Dresner said. “We both wanted to have more control over our destinies.”

Later that year, with an investment of $50,000, Dresner and McGowan became the founding partners of Infinite Technology.

Dresner was able to start his own business, but most working people don’t have that option.

“If you know you’re going to be laid off, update your resume and launch your job search immediately,” said Cassandra Hayes, careers editor for Black Enterprise magazine.

“Be aware of what’s happening in your industry and in your organization,” Hayes urges. “You need to know what the big picture is so you can make the right moves at the right time.”

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