How to Prepare for a Potential Layoff

Published: Aug 16, 2022

Topics: Workplace Issues       

With the U.S. economy cooling off and some economists predicting that a recession could be imminent, you might be worrying about job security, wondering if you’ll soon be called into HR and let go in a company downsizing. To be sure, facing an uncertain economic future and a potential layoff can be anxiety inducing. But just because the situation might seem like it’s out of your control, that doesn’t mean you can’t take action. Here are five things you can do right now to keep your career on track if you suspect a layoff is on the horizon. 

Analyze Your Finances 

One of the biggest causes of worry when it comes to losing your job is losing your source of income. If you sense your company may want to downsize, look at your financial situation and see where you can make improvements. Experts say it’s smart to have three to six months of income saved in your emergency fund. But for some people, that simply isn’t feasible. If you’re in that boat, look at where you can minimize your spending to maximize your savings in preparation for a layoff.

The best place to start is to track where your money is currently going, and see if there are any items you can cut back on. This could be as simple as cutting out your daily coffee shop run or canceling the gym membership you haven’t used in six months. You don’t have to eliminate everything that makes you happy, but simply cut back on what you can live without for a little while. The little things add up, and you’ll thank yourself later—and feel less anxious—when you see more money in your bank account. 

Know Your Value–and Own It 

When a company downsizes, it typically tries to eliminate all expenses that aren’t helping its bottom line. So, if you want to make sure you’re not simply another expendable company expense, demonstrate that you’re an asset to the company—and make sure this is visible to your managers. This doesn’t mean starting to work 80 hour weeks and burning yourself out. Instead, it means taking a look at your performance and seeing where you can improve.

Maybe you can set higher productivity goals if you feel like you’ve grown comfortable. Or you can ask your manager if your skills could be used to help out another aspect of the business. If you want to be indispensable, going the extra mile will stand out in the eyes of your managers. Most important, dedicate yourself to improving and growing as an employee. Consistently show up, exhibit that your determination is unwavering, and own how valuable of an employee you are. 

Be Prepared to Quickly Start a Job Search

If your gut tells you that you might be the next one to go, it’s a good idea to start updating your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and any other career marketing materials. Don’t wait until your position is eliminated. A job search can take months, and if you don’t have that three to six months of saved income, you have no time to waste. To speed up the process even more, reach out to people in your network to see if there are any companies that are hiring. Getting a referral to one of these companies would be invaluable during your career hardship. Having a clear plan in place and the means to execute it at the drop of a hat will eliminate some of the time you spend in job search limbo. 

Make All Necessary Doctor’s Appointments Now 

Aside from losing your means of income if you’re laid off, you’ll also have to part ways with your benefits. Schedule any health care-related appointments for yourself and your dependents now while you still have health insurance that you can afford. Also, having your health under control will eliminate another stressor if you’re laid off, allowing you to focus all your energy on landing that next role. 

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself 

When it feels like your life could be uprooted at any moment, it’s normal to feel uneasy and stressed out. So, don’t waste your time being so hard on yourself—doing so can adversely affect your ability to reach that important next step. Negative thinking can lead to low self-esteem, which is the opposite of what you want when looking for a new job. Instead of feeling like you’re a failure, focus on how you can turn this challenge into a positive experience, and focus on being confident. You can’t turn back the clock and do anything differently, but you can make sure that every step you take forward is beneficial for your new normal.

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