Your boss has made it clear that layoffs are coming. The number of people getting laid off, departments that will get hit and the date the layoffs will start are all in dark. The layoff news becomes sort of like a suspense movie, time keeps ticking and curiosity levels rise over the top. It is scary and the fact that no information is usually given when announcing layoffs are coming doesn’t make it any better. With the current US economy, job layoffs aren’t something that is unexpected so even though your boss has yet to announce, know that it might happen anytime soon.
Once the news that the layoffs will be happening is announced, panic sets in. Everyone wonders who will get canned and who will get to keep their job and the regular paycheck to support their means. Once you hear about the layoffs it is best to prepare yourself for the worst. Hopefully, you won’t get laid off but if you do following this advice might help you leave the company in a less stressful manner than otherwise.
- Don’t Start or Be Part of the Rumors
You are not in High School! Once everyone knows layoffs are coming the news becomes talk of the office. You see people gathering during lunch hours and even during the work period talking about who might get laid off and who might be able to keep their jobs. If you start or become a part of the rumors it only fuels anxiety and depression sets in. Sure, you might be the one to get canned but until you know for a fact assuming the worst isn’t always the solution. Keep your head up and rev up your speed when it comes to getting work done.
If someone comes to you with a rumor that someone else might be getting laid off or that you are the one to get canned, politely say that you are either busy or will wait for the names to be announced. Rumors are nothing but an addition to the already burning fire, don’t start the fire or be the fuel to aggravate the heat.
- Get In The Loop and Start Networking
Remember the guy you exchanged business cards with on the subway or while taking a business trip to a different city? Its time to get in touch. Networking is a great way to boost your chances of getting back in the job market should you be the one to get laid off. Not all your contacts or the network you belong to might be in the same field but the same applies to their network as well. There are always possibilities and with a large and influential network your possibilities are even higher.
Offline networking is great since it gives you an opportunity to mingle with people personally and face to face. However, do not underestimate the power of online networking. The Internet has become an informational hub and also a networking platform. Make use of it. Stay active on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Of course not all people use these platforms for professional purposes but a little professional networking with personal networking is a great way to let others know about yourself and build a good impression among your network. Once again avoid giving too much information to your network, both online and offline. No one needs to know that you might be getting laid off. Keep it to yourself and get your networking skills rolling.
Make sure not to use your cubicle as a place to network, offline or online. At any give point you don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of your space or position during these times.
- Hunt For Jobs But Not at The Job
It’s hard when you know that the layoffs are coming but aren’t sure whether you will get to keep your existing job. If you have already started looking for jobs give yourself a pat on the back because it is the right thing to do. Although not sure whether or not you will be losing your job, it is in your best interest to see what other options are available. And even if you don’t get laid off it doesn’t hurt to see if there are better opportunities out there. When hunting for jobs make sure not to use your work time. Avoid using work computer or work time to look for jobs or print out resumes. Lot of companies monitor employee time on the computer and you certainly don’t want to have 3 hours of job board surfing logged into your account.
Even though you are looking for jobs since you might be the one to get laid off, this is the time to shine. Instead use work time to provide the best results. Let your boss know that you know your stuff and he can’t afford to lose you. Look for options but don’t alienate the opportunity that you currently have. Be a job hunter but hunt in stealth.
- Pack Up But Don’t Leave
Although office space and equipment we use belongs to “the office,” after some time we tend to use it as a personal space. Family pictures, personalized coffee cups and a few coats hanging on the chair, office space becomes a home where we spend 9-5. Although the names haven’t been confirmed it’s best to start clearing up the clutter or your personal belongings. Make sure to grab what belongs to you and if anything was given to you by the company make sure you are aware of the company policy before taking those belongings.
Your work computer is sort of your personal computer. You might have personal information, resume and a whole lot of stuff stored in the computer. Go ahead and transfer all your files to a removable hard drive or store it online. It’s time to clear the work computer and move your personal data somewhere else. Once again, before removing anything you want to make sure you know the company policy. If you end up staying at the job you don’t want to get fired because you did something that was against company policy. That would be worse than getting laid off. Do your part in understanding the policy before clearing the clutter both physical and virtual.
- Don’t Be an Ass Kisser
This is almost unavoidable with some people. They hear the company might be laying off and everyone swarm like bees around the boss like he is a honey pot. Avoid being an ass kisser. Your boss is in as much stress as you are. Letting people off due to economy and failing business isn’t something people enjoy doing and it causes stress to managers and bosses as well. Although you might see other co-workers getting a little closer than usual and buttering them up, avoid following such practices. Remember butter doesn’t always make things good, sometimes it makes things slide as well.
Instead, try and do your job better than you have been. Be productive and show your boss that you are not someone they can afford to lay off. Initially they might have had you in the list but changing their decision through your work and loyalty is the best way to avoid getting laid off. Save your sweet talk at home for your other half and bring the productive and loyal worker that you are to work.
Feel free to share your tips on how we can all better prepare for a layoff that might be coming our way.