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Plan B

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Because job security is a past reality, it’s crucial to not only have a plan but a back up plan as well.

My favourite modern fairy tale begins with “Once upon a time there was a secure job.” That’s why it’s crucial to not only have a plan, but to have a plan B as well. That’s right — B is for back-up plan.

If you’re Paris Hilton, the extent of your plan B is having a Visa card in your wallet in case Tiffany’s doesn’t accept your American Express card.

But for those of us who aren’t heirs to the Hilton fortune and have to work to support ourselves, or our families, our plan Bs are a little more complex and a lot more important.

We live in a world where there are no guarantees and a lot of what-ifs — just ask any of the many technology professionals who used to work in California’s Silicon Valley.

Many thought they would ride the tech wave to early retirement, but instead they ended up with early unemployment.

“Less than 10 per cent of us achieve our goals or reach our desired destination with our original plan, which is why a plan B is key,” says Tim Cork, senior vice-president of the career transition and outplacement firm NEXCareer in Toronto.

“We face all kinds of uncertainty in our work-life for which we have no control. Like in sailing, the direction of the winds can’t be changed, but we can adjust our sail, through plan B, and take a different tack,” says Cork.

But plan Bs’ importance isn’t only about increasing your chances of reaching your goals, it’s about helping you to be flexible and thus providing yourself with a sense of personal security. It’s knowing that if things don’t work out with what you’re doing at present, there’s always a fall-back plan and you’ll be OK no matter what happens.

“Those people that have plan Bs aren’t hit as hard and bounce back faster when they do lose their job, because they can say to themselves: OK, I may have lost my job, but now I can go back to school, or write my book, or temporarily work at my old job, etc.,” says Francine Hoffman, a professional business mentor and consultant in Richmond Hill.

“I know that if my business fails tomorrow I can always go back to selling real estate, which is what I did prior to what I do now. I have kept my licence active, just in case,” said Hoffman.

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