How Prepared Are You To Get Laid Off?

How Prepared Are You To Get Laid Off?

I was having coffee with some friends the other day and I sat there and listened to each one of them talk about the layoffs that were coming this week that they needed to deal with.

The alarming piece of the conversation was they all worked for different companies and yet every single one was going to experience a down-size this week.

Of course, the obvious question I asked them all was “Are you safe?”

The answers ranged from: “I don’t know” to “Maybe on this one but probably not the next one”.

Layoffs are a part of business but in struggling industries it is becoming the norm as companies try to get leaner and more efficient when business is not good.

It is a scary corporate culture when everyone knows that there will be large personnel changes every year or perhaps every quarter.

How prepared are you to get laid off?

Most of you who work for someone else can’t say your jobs are 100% secure and therefore the potential of getting laid off needs to be somewhere on your radar.

Before it was the unthinkable.

A company wouldn’t get rid of smart, hard-working, productive, loyal and passionate employees.

Oh yes they would!

Being laid off for non-performance reasons is a killer and that much harder to swallow but the reality is it happens and it happens all the time.

It is tough to not take it personally but you can’t.

But what you can do is be pro-active in preparing for that moment if it was ever to come.

This is not about constantly stressing and looking over your shoulder 24/7.

This is about taking control of the areas that you can impact and not stressing on the things that you can’t control like non-performance related layoffs.

Here are six areas that you can build on now that will help you prepare for the “OMG I just got laid off” scenario if it ever happens:

1) Get Your Head Space Right

People who take getting laid off personally need to get over it quickly.

You may not agree with the decision but that doesn’t matter.

You can rationalize all you want but at the end of the day, what is done is done and time to move onto a new chapter.

Nothing you say or do will change the decision.

Easier said than done for some people but how you deal with getting laid off will set the course for how you handle moving your life forward.

2) Do Your Current Job and Do It Well

In sports they talk about “leaving it on the field” or “giving it your all”.

If you ever leave a company on someone else’s terms then you want to know that you did your very best at your job and made it a hard decision for the company to include you on the laid off list.

It will also give you some piece of mind that although you were told it was just a numbers situation you know that performance did not play a factor.

3) Constantly Build Your Network

For those of you who have changed jobs over a period of time, you can attest to the importance of networking.

It would be nice to fill up your network with headhunters and recruiters and you should but future job opportunities will likely come from people you worked with, went to school together, had business dealings with or are just friends.

4) Understand Your Finances

It all depends on where you are in life or in your career but you need to better understand where your money is or isn’t and where it should be.

It is very hard to get ahead for some people and it takes time but if you have a plan that is at least a step in the right direction.

Do you know how long you can last without steady income from a job?

Do you have a contingency plan in place if you don’t have the cash to pay the bills?

You may not have the answers now but you should be thinking of potential solutions so you don’t get into a very uncomfortable situation in the future if your number is called.

5) Continually Update Your Resume

I was surprised at the amount of people I talk to who do not have a resume or even an updated resume.

Building a great resume takes time.

It is time well spent and once the base is done then you can just update it every six months if required.

Keep in mind that the stronger your resume the more likely you are to land that next dream job!

6) Talk To Those Who Are Close To You

Great relationships thrive on strong communication.

Be open and honest with those close to you and who could be impacted if you were laid off.

How you deal with the situation will have a direct impact on how they deal with the situation.

You need support and not additional stress when the time comes.


I hope that you are never forced to leave a job that you did well and didn’t want to leave.

If you do, at least you took control of the things that you can control and it will make the experience easier to deal with.





Photo courtesy of Alexander Franke

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