Lessons Learned...Preparing to Lose Your Job

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - The unemployment rate rose to 8.9% in April.  However, since the recession began in December 2007, a total of 5.7 million jobs have been lost.

So what would you do today if you knew you were losing your job tomorrow?

"It was shocking, you know, it was kind of like disbelief!"

34-year-old Anthony Dowdell says that was his initial reaction after he found out he was out of a job about six months ago.

Dowdell has a bachelor's, an MBA and served as a supervisor, but even with that skill set, he's still a statistic.

"I read about it in the paper, I see it on tv and to think, it's real, it's happening to me," says Dowdell.

A reality that's difficult for many folks to face, especially when there's not much time to prepare.

"I was like well, came in, got out of a meeting, go into another meeting, and it was like well, you don't have a job."

So, if this happened to you, would you be ready?  Experts say it's time we all started to prepare for the worst.

Here are some tips to follow:

Job Lesson #1-Assume the ax could fall at any time.

This means having your resume ready to go, and any other professional accomplishments on paper.

Plus, keep in mind things like files, and phone numbers that may be stored on work computers that you would no longer have access to if you were fired.

ManPower's Delia Postell says constant training is also critical.

"Staying on top of your industry, whatever industry you're in," says Postell.

Job Lesson #2-Be ready to market yourself.

"If an employer was to call you today, and they were to say to you, I need you to interview tomorrow, are you prepared," says Dianne Smith-Jenkins, Manager of the Columbus Career Center

Smith-Jenkins says this means practicing your pitch.

"This is my knowledge, this is my ability, this is how I can be an asset to your organization," says Smith-Jenkins of what people should rehearse saying to themselves.

Job lesson #3-Always be networking.

"You have to know what jobs are out there who's available, what jobs may be coming open in the future," says Smith-Jenkins.

Unfortunately, Dowdell says he's done most of this, and still hasn't found work.  However, he admits, he's learned his own lessons.

For example, Dowdell says he would have saved more money and lived off of less.

"I mean, I know the rules, but I didn't always follow them," he says.

Something else Dowdell says he'd follow, his heart.  A former college football player, Dowdell says one day he like to become a teacher and coach.

"Find something to do that you like and you know once you find that job, you can pour everything into it because that's what you really want to do and that's what you feel best about and have fun at work, doing what you like."

No matter what job comes next, that's a lesson Dowdell says he'll keep with him for a lifetime.