Building Your Career in a Time of Uncertainty

Building your career in times of uncertainty

The economy is moving in many directions at once. On the one hand, unemployment is at a staggeringly low 3.7% as businesses have bounced back from the pandemic. Moreover, many employees have newfound flexibility and satisfaction as remote work increasingly looks like it’s here to stay in some capacity.

Then on the other hand, inflation is at its highest point in decades, and many industries—including many marquee tech companies—are laying off people in droves. You are not alone if you are unsure how to build your career in such a volatile environment. Luckily, as an executive-level employee, you are navigating this tricky situation from a position of strength and leverage. Let’s take a look at the good and bad of building your career in a time of such uncertainty.

The Good

If your company or sector thrives, you may be exposed to more opportunities and responsibilities than before. The ongoing conversation about professional ambition and hustle culture has left many wondering if it is possible to grow your career without sacrificing the rest of your life. Is it possible to have it all?

Columnist Callum Borchers on the As We Work podcast from the Wall Street Journal suggests, “A recurring theme that comes up in my own conversations with workers… is this idea of trying to have it all, but not necessarily all at the same time.” Take a longer view of your career. There may be periods where you spend long hours at the office and sacrifice an active social life in exchange for pushing your company and career to new heights and doing fulfilling work. There may also be different periods where family and friends are your priority, and your job is just a job. What’s important is knowing your priorities and deciding what you are willing to sacrifice for those priorities.

Even when we are putting work first, rest is important. Columnist Rachel Feintzeig—also on the As We Work podcast—says, “Oftentimes we do better when we do less. Much research shows that a smaller chunk of really focused time, followed by downtime, is a smart way to work.” As an executive and leader in the workplace, you may feel a responsibility to work tirelessly to guide others but keep in mind that rest and balance is an essential part of productivity, and your employees will follow your model.

The Bad

The tech sector, construction, auto, and real estate have all seen large-scale layoffs. Although executive-level positions are often insulated from the most severe consequences of economic uncertainty (such as company-wide layoffs), it is still worth making sure you are prepared for the possibility, so you are not blindsided.

First and foremost, make sure you prepare financially by accumulating some savings so that you can weather a layoff in the unfortunate circumstance that it happens. This is always good advice but is especially appropriate during uncertain times.

Second, focus on proactively networking, both internally within your company and externally. As an executive, you have an uncharacteristic level of access to high-level employees in both your own company and others. This access can allow you to gauge the likelihood of layoffs before they happen or the possibility of even better job opportunities elsewhere with companies who are actively recruiting executives. In fact, these opportunities are worth considering even if layoffs are not imminent.

Networking to Build Your Career

While networking externally and sharing your credentials and experience with recruiters, think broadly about how you can communicate your skills. Your leadership experience and soft skills can carry lots of weight even in a job move between sectors if framed correctly. The key is to cut through the jargon to share in simple terms what problems you have solved and how those solutions benefited your company.

Finally, it’s also worth considering that even if you don’t personally experience a layoff, people you work closely with may be let go. It’s important to recognize the aftermath as the mourning period. While it’s important to do the best work you can while the company is struggling so that you aren’t next if you find yourself distracted and unable to work for some time, that is entirely normal and human, and allowing yourself the space to deal with those emotions will help you keep your bearings and not burn out.

The Best

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry—Signature Source is here to help! We have over 17 years of dedicated focus and results of recruiting for top talent in the global mobility industry. Our expert team of relocation industry veterans ensures an unparalleled advantage in pairing the right talent with the right job at the right company. Search through the list of openings we are recruiting for on behalf of our clients to enhance your career, or contact us directly.  We look forward to hearing from you!


  • National Association Executive Recruiters
  • National Association Personnel Services
  • Foreign for Expatriate Management
  • Society for Human Resources Management
  • Worldwide ERC
  • Women Business Enterprise National Council
  • Southeast Regional Relocation Council
  • Chicago Relocation Council
  • North Texas Relocation Professionals
  • Houston Relocation Professionals
  • Tennessee Relocation Council
  • Midwest Relocation Council
  • Metro Atlanta Relocation Council