Monday, November 7, 2011

Layoffs are coming: preparing at work've been feeling the tension at work.  You've noticed the executives having secret meetings.  You've googled your company and the news is not good.  The signs are there, layoffs are coming.  Now, how do you prepare yourself?
  • Start expanding your on-line presence.  If you don't have a Linkedin account get one.  Linkedin is a good way to network with people in your industry.   There are lots of user groups started by Linkedin members.  Find one related to your industry and join. 
  • Build a list of references.  Ask for references from your supervisors, managers, colleagues, and subordinates.  Return the favor and be a reference for others.  Be sure to get your reference's personal contact numbers.
  • Quietly remove personal items from your place of work.  Remove items like family photos, certificates, awards, personal decorations, etc.  If the axe falls you may not have a lot of time to pack-up your personal items.  In some cases you may not have any time.  After receiving notice of termination you may be escorted off the premises by security.  The company will then have someone else pack your personal belongings.
  • Create your own personal parachute.  Find out what kind of severance package your company offers.  See if any outplacement assistance programs are available.  (If you live in Maryland check out the Professional Outplacement Assistance Center at 
  • Contact your state office about unemployment benefits.  (This is especially important for workers in religious organizations.  Many of them are exempt from paying unemployment insurance.  You may find that if you are laid-off you will be ineligible for unemployment benefits.)
  • Get your resume ready.
  • Check out your health benefits. Find out what your COBRA costs would be.  Attend to your health while you have benefits.  This is the time to get any needed medical procedures done.
  • Buy a flash drive and download any personal files and anything you have written.  Download any letters or memos you have written.  If you've developed any Excel spreadsheets or programs download these also.  BE SURE NOT TO DOWNLOAD ANY PROPRIETARY DATA.
  • Update your skills.  Look into your local community college for any courses you can take.  Or look for projects that you can work on that would help you learn new skills.
The work world nowadays is a difficult place.  You are responsible for your own career and professional well-being.  You may not be able to control when a layoff is coming or if you get laid-off.  But you can take steps to make sure your landing is as soft as possible.

Information for this article was taken from the following sources:
Layoff preparations at work  Susan P. Joyce
How to Prepare for a Layoff  Cubicle Curtis

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What are the signs of a pending layoff?

Many people have experienced at least one layoff in their careers.  And in this struggling economy the experience is becoming more common.  Losing a job can be financially and emotionally devastating.  Is there a way to tell when a layoff is coming?  Industry experts say yes.   You just have to know the signs. 

So, what are the signs of an impending layoff?
  • A Google search of your company or organization turns up negative news.  You will see reports such as the company is in financial trouble or that the company has lost profits.
  • You read that the value of the company stocks has declined steeply.  Also along these lines, the executives in your organization are dumping most or all of their shares.
  • Speaking of executives, if they are in a lot of secret meetings it could mean that a layoff is coming.
  • Your organizations has been acquired by another one or is being merged.  These events usually result in duplication of positions.  This is not cost effective so......
  • Your organization begins instituting cost cutting measures.  Routine expenses are cut.  Projects that were planned are put on hold due to budgetary constraints.
  • The organization institutes salary freezes or salary cuts.
  • Your friends in the industry are experiencing layoffs.
Any one of these signs doesn't necessarily mean a layoff is coming.  But if you see several signs that should be a warning.

 Now the previous signs primarily apply to for profit organizations.  However, several of them are indicators of a pending layoff in a non-profit organization.

For example:
  • Your non-profit is instituting salary freezes or cuts.
  • Routine expenses are cut.
  • You hear news that your organization is having financial difficulties.
  • Projects, programs, or initiatives are put on hold.
  • There is news of impropriety by the chief executive officer.
As was stated before, the presence of one of these events isn't necessarily an indicator of a coming layoff.  But if most or all of these signs are present, beware.


If you work in a religious institution, particularly a church, there are three times when you should be alert.

  • The church is having financial challenges.  In this case signs of an impending layoff would be similar to the signs in for profit and non-profit organizations. 
  • The church is having strategic challenges.  The church may be changing its direction or missional focus.  Oftentimes when this happens some positions are eliminated
  • The church is in the midst of a pastoral transition.  The incoming pastor may have different priorities or a different vision for the church.  Current staffing may not fit in with the pastor's vision.  Positions may change or be eliminated to align with the change in direction.

Like it or not, layoffs are a part of our working lives.  Situations, that we have no control over set the stage for a layoff.  All we can do is be alert so that we can be prepared.  So keep those resumes polished.

What other signs of an impending layoff do you know of?

Information for this post was taken from the following articles:

Signs of a pending layoff   Susan P. Joyce

Heads will roll: 17 signs of impending layoffs  Brian Satterfield

Is your job in jeopardy? Impending layoff warning signs 
Randall S. Hansen, Ph. D.

When layoffs loom  John R. Throop