July’s unemployment numbers were released recently and it looks like the recession still has a strong hold on the economy. If your job is in jeopardy as discussed in my last blog ten layoff warning signs , it behooves you to take precautionary measures. There are steps we can take to prepare for the worst….losing one’s job.
7 Steps to Prepare for a Layoff:
- Live within your means – Establish a slush fund to cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses. Eliminate discretionary spending and cut up a credit card or two.
- Make yourself visible – Make sure your boss knows just how valuable you are. Volunteer for those unpleasant tasks no one else wants to do. Suggest a cost savings idea and volunteer to spear head it. Become the one your boss can’t do without.
- Practice career self management – Even when employed you should be thinking one step ahead. Your job search should always be on your mind. No jobs are 100% secure in any economy as companies flex and reorganize their human resources to fit current demand. As such, you need to keep your resume up to date. Document your accomplishments, milestones and completed projects.
- Keep networking – In a my previous blog, Network like a pro: Learn how entrepreneurs do it, I discuss the importance of establishing contacts and developing relationships before you need them, as referenced in Harvey MacKay’s book, ‘Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty’. Keeping your network pipeline full is crucial for career survival.
- Do your housekeeping – Layoffs can take anyone by surprise so don’t be in a position to be walked out the door without your valuables! Save copies of performance reviews, emails of recommendation, work samples and other important documents. Be sure to copy your contacts to your home computer.
- Research your health insurance policy – Find out what your insurance plan coves and how much it will cost to continue your benefits under COBRA. COBRA coverage can be quite costly as you will be responsible for paying both the company and individual shares of the premium.
- Keep a positive attitude – The stress of a pending layoff can cause you to doubt your self-worth. Layoff decisions are based on many factors, so you should not take it personally. And remember, there can be a silver lining to losing your job. It could be the kick in the pants you have needed to finally pursue your dream career. I have witnessed many clients who were scared to death when they lost their jobs only to discover that sense of relief knowing they had gained the opportunity to do something more meaningful.
You may not be able prevent getting laid off from your job but you can take steps to reduce an otherwise stressful situation. Be prepared and remember that even if you lose your job there may very well be a better opportunity awaiting you!