5 Things Ronald McDonald Can Teach Us About Job Security

Of all of the people we would never expect to lose his or her job, Ronald McDonald recently had his job threatened when the healthcare industry raised serious concerns over having him as the entertaining draw for food that they consider to be unhealthy.

Although Ronald McDonald’s exit interview was imagined, it has nuggets of truth that may run through every person’s mind when the prospect of losing a job becomes real.

Is there anything that we can learn from Ronald’s misfortune before it happens to us?   Actually, there are at least 5 lessons:

1. Keep Your Skills Fresh:  In his exit interview, Ronald pondered working in payroll or Web development as an alternative to wearing a clown suit everyday.  Every position has a timeline that ends.  By using job boards to regularly search for which positions have open interest by headhunters and by taking classes or reading books to keep your skills marketable, you may be able to transition to a new venture when the timeline on your current position ends.

2. Keep a Ear on the Pulse of the Job Market:  As mentioned above, job boards are a great source for understanding what skills are marketable in a particular field.  For example, Ronald McDonald could have conducted a search on open positions in the restaurant industry to understand what other skills he could develop before being asked to hang up his clown suit.  Also, keep your contacts fresh and recent by staying connected via social media or in real time.  If Ronald had played a recent golf game with Rep. Steny Hoyer, perhaps he would be in the running for the potential open position in the House.

3.  Stay Portable:  In the recession, we saw how jobs in a handful of cities shrank dramatically.  If opportunities dry up in your current city, would you be able to move to a new city to work?  Luckily, many jobs these days are portable.  Even Ronald could have transferred to an alternate McDonald’s branch (although it appears his job was threatened across the company).

4.  Brand Yourself (to the Extent that Your Current Job Allows):  Insiders are starting to predict that corporate structures will one day be obsolete, and commerce will be centered around individuals.  Even if this doesn’t happen, you chances of finding a new position are significantly raised if you have a brand to offer a new firm or to serve as a platform for your own venture.  This is good news for Ronald McDonald, whose iconic status and followers are the new type of job currency.

5.  Have Emergency Savings:  Most importantly, have 4-6 months of emergency savings (if not more in this economy) to help pay your living expenses between jobs or while starting up a new venture.  Even the most secure position can slip through your fingers tomorrow.   Having savings may help buy you time to start something new, which these day may take up to a year.

Your strategy for keeping you and your family financially secure should include ways to keep your income flow secure.  Perhaps Ronald McDonald taught us more than just catchy jingles and how to not fear all clowns after all.

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