Career Guide

The Ball’s In Your Court (Somewhat): Five Tips for Avoiding a Lay-Off

[Part II of IV]

When your company or industry is facing lay-offs, it’s natural to feel helpless and even unmotivated.  You don’t know who’s staying and who’s leaving, and that lack of control can be debilitating.

However, there are steps that you can take to reduce the likelihood that you’ll lose your job.  Here are five essential actions to take that may help solidify your position:

  1. Be clear on your value to the organization. Take a close look at the work you’re doing and identify how it contributes to your company’s objectives and bottom line.  Are your clients happy?  Are you billable? If that’s not obvious to you, how will it be clear to the leaders determining who stays and who goes?
  2. Shake off the doldrums.  It’s a difficult time, but try to avoid the complainers. Save the venting for home and try to be positive at work. You’ll have more energy, which is bound to translate into greater productivity. Your attitude will make you stand out in the sea of negativity.
  3. Network internally with other departments. This is not the time to arrive late or leave early.  If your work is slow, volunteer to assist other areas of the company. For example, a Corporate Communications manager who offered to assist the Information Technology department with its communications escaped a massive employee reduction when her IT contacts created a special position for her within their department.
  4. Update your boss regularly about the results you’re producing.  Meet or talk weekly with your boss to discuss your work and how you’re contributing to the organization. Celebrate – and promote — your successes. This is the time to become your own PR person and ensure your supervisor knows about your contributions.
  5. Reach out to supervisors in other areas of the organization.  Lay-offs affect everyone – even your boss. It’s a good idea to make sure other senior people besides your manager know about your expertise. That way, your career doesn’t get stalled if he or she leaves the company.

For advice on what to do if you do get laid off, see Part III of this series.

By Jenny Schade, president, JRS Consulting. JRS Consulting helps organizations dramatically increase attraction among customers and employees. Jenny Schade has interviewed more than 1,000 employees while guiding organizations through turbulent change. Get more tips from the free JRS newsletter.

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