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On my way home from work last week Friday, I stopped at the IGA (Whitchurch) supermarket to pick up some grocery and I couldn’t believe how packed the place was. It made me question if there really was a recession going on in the Caribbean.

Now, you can say everyone needs to eat but even among luxury stuff, I still see a lot of consumption happening. For example, people are still buying items like huge flat screen TV’s on hire-purchase, and Japanese re-condition vehicles are coming in by the boat loads.

All the economic reports indicate that we are spending a lot less because of the recession. But I want to know, are YOU spending less? I asked the same question to many middle income workers and the answers were enlightening to say the least.

As for me, I’ve reduced my spending just a little. If anything I will be increasing it. However, how I’m spending has changed considerably. Because the recession creates an open window of opportunities, the majority of my spending this year will be going to towards long-term investments. As Warren Buffet said, “Be fearful when everyone else is greedy and greedy when everyone else is fearful.” It’s time to get greedy! With home prices dropping slowly, I figure this would be a good opportunity to buy a home or add more real estate portfolio.

Back to the question at hand – Has the recession reduced your spending? Tell us in the comments below.

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empty office spacePhoto by texas_mustang

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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Economic problems became a major focus of the media and source of anxiety for consumers at the end of 2008.

And at the start of a relatively new year, the issue does not seem to be improving, with more and more shops and business forced into administration and people cutting back on everyday spending.

However, it’s not just the wider business world that has been hit by the economic downturn – the whole Caribbean have been affected too, both on a local and national scale.

The ungoing protests in Guadeloupe and Martinique in recent weeks have highlighted how difficult some people are finding it to cope with the effects of the financial crisis. Across the entire Caribbean, people have been forced to adjust their budgets and lifestyles.

So what adjustments have you been making to cope with the financial difficulties, and have you made any changes to deal with the credit crunch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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