Managing Your Layoff


You sit in your cubicle and watch your company's head count go down month by month. You know it's just a matter of time before layoffs affect your department.

Snap out of it! Instead of waiting to become a statistic, get yourself in position to manage your layoff.

Voluntary Layoffs

A number of companies are offering fairly attractive separation packages to employees who voluntarily leave their jobs. "Hmmm," you might wonder. "Why would I want to consider such an option?"

There Are Several Reasons:

* Your company is obviously going through a slowdown. This means it may be a while before you see a raise or promotion.

* The atmosphere at work will probably be dismal for some time to come. As the HR person, you will be in charge of keeping the troops happy while the company goes through this downturn. Is this a challenge worth taking on?

* Layoffs are still recent news, and there are a fair number of HR opportunities out there. If you stay with your current employer and are laid off six months from now, will that still be the case? Will a tighter job market be flooded with strong HR candidates? And if it is, will you then be forced to take a significant salary cut?

* The best separation packages are usually the first packages offered. If you hold out for the next separation offer, will it even come close to what you could get now?

The Best Defense Is a Good Offense

It's human nature to want to stick your head in the sand. If you don't know something dismal is coming, you can sit in your cube and be happy, right? But the uneasiness of not knowing whether you'll be on the chopping block can be very wearing.

It's time to take action. Request a meeting with your boss and let him know your concerns. Ask him to be candid. If he tells you a layoff might occur in your department, ask if the company would be open to you interviewing while still employed. Say you would expect to make up the time by coming in early or staying late.

If you're told your position is fine, proceed with caution. It may be fine for now, but no one, not even your boss, can guarantee you will have a job six months from now.

Reactivate Your Network

Perhaps you've been a bit slack and haven't kept up with your associates. Now is the time to recharge your batteries and reactivate your network. It's easier to call someone just to say hello than it is to call someone to ask for a job or some leads, especially when you haven't spoken to the person in months.

If you find you are not in the job market, all the better. You've learned a valuable lesson about the importance of keeping your network greased.

Dust Off Your Resume

Time to update the resume and make sure it's in working order in case you're suddenly in the job market. You'll be in a much better frame of mind to do this when you are steadily employed, rather than when you are mourning a job loss.

Do Your Homework

Check with friends and see what their companies are offering in terms of severance packages. This way, you will not be operating in the dark should one be delivered to your desk. You will be in a much stronger position to negotiate better terms if you know what other companies are offering.

Going through a layoff can be very stressful, but if you are prepared, you can reduce the stress substantially.

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