Bear Stearns Cos. was able to survive many recessions, inflations and wars. Yet, it was a credit crunch that took down the bank. Now, it looks like thousands will lose their jobs -- as well as their savings.

What can you learn from this nightmare? What if your employer falls to pieces? I had a chance to talk to two experts. Here's what they have to say:

Rich Gee (who operates Rich Gee Coaching):

"Always have your resume up to date -- you never know if and when you will run into someone with a job opportunity. The Bear Sterns' employees must go into overdrive -- get it written -- hopefully with a resume writer - to ensure that the possible "stigma" can be ameliorated with fancy wording and deft writing.

"You should always have at least 12 months salary in some type of liquid form -- to access if the hatchet drops on you. Remember, it doesn't have to be exactly what you make -- just the after-tax amount -- you won't be paying taxes on what you already have (i.e., if you make $100K, you only really need $60K in cash).

"You need to steel yourself and develop options. Most people tend to cocoon, gripe, worry, and gossip at every tidbit of information that comes down from corporate. You need to act quickly and develop as many opportunities you can handle -- who do you know? Who can you contact about other opportunities? Get out -- get coffee, lunch with them -- get their ideas flowing. For every 10 people you contact, three will get you a lead, a possible position. The others will provide support - which is usually in short supply at this time."

Shawn Desgrosellier (a partner with executive recruiting firm Kaye/Bassman International):

"When market conditions are unstable and everywhere you turn you hear uncertainty in the market, stay on the offensive.

"If your assets and retirement is primarily in your company's stock, diversify immediately. We see case after case of loyal employees who count on their current employer's stock performance and are disappointed with the results." Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including The Complete M&A Handbook and The Edgar Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He also operates DealProfiles.com.

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