Mar 12

Getting laid off sucks man let me tell you. It is a slap in the face of someone who has been a stellar employee and has done everything within his/her power to stay in the good graces of a company. A layoff unlike a firing is unavoidable, you are in the way so you get cut; your company can no longer afford you, specific to this article – your company gets bought out and the new boss wants to wipe the slate clean.

If you see the layoff coming you can prepare yourself (at the bottom of this article are some bullet points to help you do this), but if you get blindsided… with no severance… that is the stuff that “going postal” is made of. So how do you know that you’re about to be out of a company, a job and a bi-weekly paycheck?

One of the best indicators in knowing that you are about to be out of a job is the lull that comes over upper management during the time that you are about to be liquidated. Managerial stiffs will break mode, the president let’s her hair down and all the warning signs of them winning the lottery will be there while they lie and convince you that there is nothing happening.

I have been through 3 layoffs and they all had similar edges to them: It normally starts with a rumor, someone who knows spills the beans and the office begins to buzz – talks of a merger are shared with the employees when you know that your company is too small to be “merged”, more like consumed. At one job our only manager of the small office I worked at was fired and we were left leaderless for 2 months before hearing anything. When the big boss is canned, you should expect a clean sweep to follow, I am sure that most who have been there will agree.

What I have found useful in my years of work is that the best prepared employee is the person who already had options, has his/her resume up to date and has a solid relationship with the boss. If you find yourself in the position of being prepped to be laid off, the following is a list of tips to help you land safely on your feet.

Get your former boss’s information

Many people choose to hold a grudge and become pissed with the company owner when he/she is the best source for referrals and tips into another opportunity. After you get laid off, hit them up and see if they have info into possible employment opps for you.

Exchange information with the best workers

Opportunity may knock heavily on a co-worker’s door and it may be a position that you are a perfect fit for. Rather than leave it up to chance that they find a way to contact you if it does, why not start a network?

If given the choice of severance or relocation, choose severance

Sometimes a company will bribe employees into staying a bit longer in order to train the people who will be taking over your job. If given a chance to leave with severance or to relocate to train others, choose the severance and use the time to find another job. Nothing sucks worse than being fired in a different place where you have no network just because you chose the “safe” path in staying on a sinking ship.

Downsize quickly

If you see the water rising and you are going to be laid off, now is the time to cancel all the fun money-burners that are on your monthly budget. Kill the gym membership, cancel HBO, remove the porn site that you forgot was leeching $20/month off of your card and keep it to the necessities until you are certain of your immediate future. When you’re jobless is not the best time to accrue more debt and better to cancel before you get a balance that you are unable to pay off.

Skip and tap your networks

The quickest way to get hired anywhere is through knowing people. You can choose to sit on your hands in hopes that your online resume will spark interest or you can be a beast and call everybody you know. Do the latter and see if you can at least get in somewhere temporary while you find pleasant shores. It will save you money, time and your sanity to get employed as soon as possible.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.