Recession-Proofing Your Job as a Dietitian

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By Mark M. Deutsch, MBA

Hooray - the Recession is over! Or so say the "experts" who obviously don't live in the real world and speak with the scores of nutrition professionals I speak to every week. While anybody with any sense realizes that we are still in a very challenging economic environment, the new economy, we can each choose not to participate in the downturn. The good news for Registered Dietitians is that the profession is considered one of the most recession-proof jobs out there.

According to a Nov. 13, 2008 article titled "The 150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs Overall" in Time Business and Technology, Registered Dietitians were number 112 on the list just below Anthropologists (111) and just above School Bus Drivers (113). In fact, healthcare related professions represented half of the top 10 recession-proof jobs. The best recession-proof jobs are defined as those that are least sensitive to economic downturn, and which have the highest combined scores for pay, projected
workforce growth, and number of openings.

As experts in staffing for nutrition professionals primarily in healthcare facilities in the roles of Clinical Dietitians and Food Service/Certified Dietary Managers, we often counsel our clients that there is not a quick fix to finding the right Dietitian and we encourage patience during a search. I suggest that Dietitians take this same advice to survive (and thrive) during the recession.

It is time to get back to the basics, less is the new more. We also learn a great deal from previous generations that have survived recessions. If you look at the Greatest generation and Baby Boomer generation, they persevered with strong core values, a positive outlook, and hard work. We too need to press forward with similar core values.

As a professional, your measurable value is more important now than ever before. How can you remain valuable?

Cross train. Never say "That is not my job."

Stay current. Keep up to date on current practices and be a resource for those around you.

Exceed expectations. Take additional responsibilities, especially if they are long-term projects.

Invest in professional relationships. Network by being pleasant and getting along with others.

Remain focused. Worrying about work and participating in rumors will not help you.

Be creative. Brainstorm and present ideas that save money, or better yet, generate revenue for your company.

Be in line with your company's mission statement. Know where your company is going and help it succeed in getting there.

If these things seem obvious to you then take them as a reminder and an opportunity to reflect; take a personal inventory of your actions. If these ideas spark inspiration to improve then start now. In the meantime it never hurts to be prepared. Keep your C.V. current and available for immediate presentation if needed. Unfortunately no one is 100% recession-proof.
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