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With unemployment rates rising, the financial market going nuts, and big telecoms companies planning layoffs, it’s hard not to worry about a recession here in the Caribbean.

In recent months, leaders from all around the Caribbean have been implementing measures in hopes of reducing the impact from this ongoing global recession. And like every other Caribbean island, Dominica is slowly beginning to feel the affects from the global financial crisis.

Most of us are in no position to do the analysis ourselves, but you don’t need to be an economist to know that if people are talking about recession, you should do some thinking about what you would do if one occurs.

But since we’re not actually in bad times right now, the real question is, what do you do in a job you have if you want to get ready for a downsizing in the economy? Many Dominicans are not aware of the direct affects this recession can have on their livelihood and keeping their jobs. Here are three ways to prepare for a job market that might turn sour:

Specialize

People then to think that if there are fewer jobs, a wide range of skills makes someone more employable. It’s not the case, though. In a tight job market as ours, employers can hold out for the perfect fit. And if you are not clearly defined as a specialist, then you are not going to be a perfect fit for anything.

If you only have a few years of experience, and you see layoffs threatening, try getting involve in some focused, short-term projects that will allow you to market yourself as a specialist in something when you have to get your next job.

Consider graduate school

In a down job market, grad school is a way to enhance your skills when there are no available jobs that will do that. Grad school can be a treacherous route, though: Be careful about spending money for a degree with no career path to follow it. But also, be careful of investing in a career path you wouldn’t want to follow.

Focus on the quality of mentoring

By cultivating a great mentor in your current job, you can make your job a spot where you can wait out an economic slump should one come. So instead of focusing on the negative predictions of economic doom, focus on the positive conversations that build a solid mentoring relationship, and you will weather the storm better because you won’t weather it alone.

Are you beginning to feel the affects from the recession? What are you doing to protect your career? Tell us about it in the comments.

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photo of a Haitian farmerPhoto by LindsayStark

I truly hope that Dominicans are not on the path of creating and sustaining a society that is not tolerant of other migrant groups of various races and nationalities.

I find that some forms of injustice and stereotyping of people because they are “the Other” is taking place in our society. Dominicans are migrants in other lands and I am sure that what we would not like for ourselves, we should not want for others. Yes, in every group some are bad but that does not mean that we should put all people in one negative category. I know that we know better than that.

One migrant group that has been a hot topic for years is the Haitian Community in Dominica. It is understandable that with a country with as limited resources and as small as Dominica, Dominicans will be concerned about their country and their survival.

However, there have been some negative reports about our treatment of other people in the region, especially the Haitians and I would be happy is Prime Minister Skerrit would deal with the issue of managed migration and creating a policy.

Another thing that I think should be frowned upon is discrimination in the workplace, especially in this economic climate where jobs are a serious concern in terms of how we can all survive in these difficult times that have already begun.

I especially sympathise with those in the disabled community, some of whom have encountered some problems in that area, but it is highly commendable that some employers look at a person’s ability and credentials and not that they are differently abled.

I did some checking through the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on this issue and the ILO also states that the most common form of discrimination is the denial of opportunities, both in the labour market, and in education and training to people with disabilities. Therefore, they are often trapped in low-paid, unskilled and menial jobs, with little or no social protection.

I am thankful though that in Dominica there are a few avenues for disabled people to sharpen their skill, even though there may be challenges. But do we as an island nation give migrant groups, and people who are disabilities a fair opportunity in the workplace? Let’s hear your opinion in the comments.

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Let’s say you’re seating in the lunchroom chatting with your co-workers, and someone makes a racist (sexist, homophobic, black, or some other stereotype-based) joke. What do you do? Call him or her out on it and say goodbye to your work relationship – especially here in Dominica where everyone is quick to take everything on personal level. Don’t say a thing (and imply that it’s ok). So what do you do if a co-worker is making racist jokes about someone?

My recommendation? Play dumb. Put on a confused expression, act as if you don’t understand the joke, and ask your co-worker to explain it to you. He/She will not be able to explain why the joke is funny without evoking a racist stereotype. You can then question the stereotype, thus pointing out the racism of the joke, without being offensive and without humiliating your co-worker. Racist jokes rely on an unspoken, shared knowledge of racist stereotypes. Some might go far as saying that without the stereotypes, there is no humor.

Everyone’s been in this uncomfortable situation before. How have you dealt with it? How will deal with it if the situation presents itself? Share with us your knowledge on racist stereotypes in the comments.

How to Deal with a Racist Joke at Work [lifehacker]

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