No one ever expects to be laid off. However, layoffs have remained in headlines consistently over the past year with the downturn of the economy, and business analysts anticipate they will continue. In fact, nearly 25,000 IT employees have been laid off in the past 16 days according to recent reports. And with nearly every industry being inundated with substantial financial woes and taking drastic measures to rectify them, it is important for employees to be proactive and prepare for layoffs and other employment changes such as quiet hiring. Being laid off can be a difficult and stressful experience, but with preparation, you can minimize the impact and set yourself up for success long term.
Have rumors of pending layoffs started floating around the office? Are you reading the writing on the headlines and feel it's only a matter of time? Do you simply want to be proactive so that you are not caught unprepared for a layoff? Regardless of your reason, here are 12 ways to prepare for layoffs now:
1. Pray, meditate, and strengthen your spiritual core. Layoffs can take a toll on your mental and spiritual health. Focus on your purpose and know that your worth is not dictated by your job.
2. Maintain a great work ethic, even with pending layoffs. My motto: “Leave places better than you found them.” Never let your circumstances dictate who you are and your ability to do great work. Recommendations have even greater weight now, so make sure your employer’s is riveting.
3. Develop a strong personal brand that showcases your skills, experience, education, and value to potential employers by building a professional online presence through social media and networking sites like LinkedIn. Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Get one ASAP!
4. Network with people in your industry to learn about job opportunities, identify key contacts, and build professional relationships. LinkedIn will help you do this!
5. Develop a plan to manage your finances, including creating a budget, cutting expenses, and building an emergency fund. In other words, be frugal and SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!
6. Take a certification course or enroll in a new program to refresh and update your skills and education to increase your marketability and make yourself more attractive to potential employers. Upskilling is critical!
7. Seek emotional, mental, and spiritual support from friends, family, faith community, or a professional counselor if you are feeling stressed or anxious about the possibility of being laid off. Don’t wait until you’ve been laid off to call a therapist or to meet with your accountability circle if you’re already feeling a lot of anxiety.
6. Knowledge is power! Stay informed about what's happening within your company and industry. This will help you understand the potential risks and opportunities that may be coming up soon.
7. Seek out and take advantage of any resources your company may offer for employees who are facing layoffs, such as outplacement services or job search assistance. Don’t be too prideful to utilize these services; you’ve earned them.
8. Stay positive, stay calm, and stay motivated. Remember that a layoff is not a personal failure or a rejection, but rather a common occurrence in the current job market. As such, anyone is “qualified” for a layoff.
9. Be open to new opportunities by leveraging your skills in new and exciting ways. Consider working in a new industry, starting a business, moving to your favorite city, or even moving to a new country. The possibilities for your next job are endless, so don’t limit yourself with a closed mind.
10. Be courageous. Remember, closed doors lead to open ones. Do you have a dream that you’ve been too afraid to pursue? Perhaps, this is the perfect time.
11. Keep moving forward. You still have a wonderful life ahead of you regardless of pending layoffs. Don't make any rash decisions or become stagnant for fear of the unknown. Focus on what is known: You are amazing and you have so much to offer any organization that is blessed to have you.
12. Hire a life coach. Whether you hire a career coach, career transition coach, or an executive coach, this professional will help you create a plan, find lead to opportunities, and identify your strengths, career goals, and leadership capacity.
I am an executive coach. If you are an executive leader and are interested in having me help you set goals, identify and overcome obstacles, and improve your overall performance and well-being in both your personal and professional life, contact me for more information at email@example.com.
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
So, do just that. Do not be afraid of the uncertain future. Rather, be confident that God is with you and that everything will work out in your favor. Bet on God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Wanita Mercer, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Lead My Heart, an executive coaching and consulting company specializing in spiritual leadership, change, and communication strategies. She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in organizational leadership from University of the Incarnate Word, and she is a certified change management specialist and management executive. She has over 15 years of experience as an international educator, motivational speaker, and author. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.