In Case of Career Emergency: Four People You Should Have on Speed Dial

You can't predict when a career crisis will erupt, but you can prepare. Before hitting the panic button, hit speed dial and reach out and touch these people for advice and insights.

1. Your Former Boss

Your old boss is a great source of knowledge. First, she knows you well -- your strengths and your weaknesses -- and can advise you when to act and when to react during a crisis. Next, she may know more about the business you're in than you do, so she can give you practical advice. Should you find the crisis unmanageable, your former boss can also provide you with a stellar reference as you search for a new job.

2. Your Mentor

The best part of having a mentor is that he possesses the ability to view your career in the long term. What you consider a crisis, your mentor may not. These seasoned folks are adept at talking their less-experienced mentees down from the ledge and putting things in proper perspective.

3. Your Executive Recruiter

Your relationship with your executive recruiter shouldn't end once you've accepted an offer. Rather, this person can act as a career advisor and touchstone in good times and bad. Remember, too, that, in a way, your employer is also his. As such, he may be able to offer up insights to help you survive a sticky situation. If things are truly dire, he may also be able to start offering up leads on openings with other clients.

4. Your Most Trusted Colleague

Just as a mentor can help you minimize a crisis, a trusted colleague can as well - just by listening. Venting your frustrations to your confidante behind closed doors or over a cup of coffee could help you clear your head - and rethink any rash action you were about to take.

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