Not a day goes by without news about the economic uncertainty, the Eurozone crisis, China’s inflation and the sluggish recovery in the United States.  

Singaporeans are being warned to expect only 1 to 3 per cent growth in 2012. If the down period is a long one, finding a new job or replacing a lost one will also be more difficult.

So if you are gainfully employed now, here are five tips that may help you keep your job or find a new one in tough times:

Do the right stuff

Work ethics are important at all times and poor ones are viewed more critically during bad times. No boss or manager, already mired in challenging macro situations, wishes to see his staff socialising on Facebooking or tweeting away during office hours. Hand in assignments on time and update him on important projects so he knows you are on top of things.

Provide solutions

Big or small, solutions are always welcoming and it shows your vested interest in the organisation.

Now is the time to be an asset to your boss — help him find solutions to smaller problems he entrusts you with, and e-mail him constructive ideas on how to improve processes or bag more customers.

Even small things like using a cheaper pen supplier or thinking of a more cost-efficient way to save on transport count. It isn’t the actual solution that matters — it is the fact that you cared enough to think of one that does.

Be the bright spark

During my National Service, the basic military training new recruits had to undergo was probably the toughest time for me and my mates. We were still acclimatising to the regimental lifestyle while reminiscing about the freedom that had been taken away. So, a canteen break never failed to cheer us up.

When layoffs occur in a downturn, company morale often plummets. Take the lead and be the jovial one cheering up your colleagues. Bosses notice and appreciate leadership qualities.

Ask to help out

Make yourself as irreplaceable as possible by moving beyond your job scope. Show that you can perform well not just in good times but also in bad times. Bosses need motivated people like you to help them navigate the company through rough waters.

Network, network, network

Sometimes, being a good performer may not protect you from losing your job. If your company is acquired, for example, there may already be someone performing your role, and the new management may have to let you go.

If you are a regular networker, this is when your connections will matter. People in your network will be able to alert you to job opportunities or even recommend you for them. So don’t wait for the axe to fall before you start calling on people.

Networking is a crucial element in your career, so start now. Remember that it is a process of sincerely connecting with people, and that you have to give before you take. Only then, will your network of people who like and trust you, grow and flourish.

In a recovering market, companies tend to hire those who have been referred to by insiders, as that is the most cost-effective option. The more people you know, the higher the chances of getting a job referral when you need one.