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Coping with Roadkill Budgets

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With the current economy being in worse shape then the possums on the thruway, many of us in the IT world are having to cope with severely curtailed budgets. Experts predict that the current economic slowdown will continue for a few years at least.  The worst thing you can do now is try to pretend that its business as usual. Here's a few tips to survive.

  1. Try not to get emotionally attached to your projects. A good employee feels a sense of personal responsibility to the projects he/she helps craft, but prepare yourself that the project may undergo harsh amputations in order to survive. Go over requirements with the business look for area's where the scope can be reduced.
  2. No matter how stressed you become, do not feed into the office hysteria.  Don't bring up every negative article/rumor about your firm that you come across. Its hard, but try to maintain a positive outlook.
  3. If you have idle time, try to use it constructively, look for documentation which is out of date, source control which needs to be cleaned up or any of the other housekeeping tasks you may have neglected.
  4. Training - Often the first victim of a bad budget season is training. Luckily there are many free training websites out there.  See if your manager would be comfortable with you spending a portion of your day going through online training.   Here are a few sites to get you started: J2EE Web PHP SQL
  5. Volunteer - Often budgets are slashed unevenly. If you project catches more of the ax then others, see if you can help out.  Again try not to be bitter. Offer your services freely.
  6. Open Source - Take the time and review some future planned projects and see if they could be implemented using open source technology. Save as much of the budget as you can.
  7. Planing for the future - Start thinking about what you would do if your job was outsourced.  Create a checklist to move yourself to that destination. Often this will involve training and tasks that you can accomplish long before the ax drops.
  8. Update your resume - Is there some certifications you have which are out of date.  What about certifications which would make step 7 easier?
  9. Time for a change - Many of us fall into a rut of sticking with a career or company because it is easier then going through change. Don't be rash though, plan your exit and do not burn any bridges.
  10. Above all, try to be as positive as possible.  Remember that you are not the only one feeling the anxiety of the cuts your firm is going through, and try to put as positive a spin on things as possible.