How To Know When It’s Your Turn And What To Do About It

Written by: James R. Weiss

No matter how kind and generous your boss is you are about to be laid off, fired, out-sourced or terminated. After spending eight or more hours in your office or cubicle for the last fifteen years you are now free to sit in the park and feed the pigeons. “Jim, I was very good at my job. I ate at my desk and worked weekends when asked to do so. Where did I go wrong? I thought my manager liked me. We worked as a team.”

When Lynn finally calmed down she was able to tell me that her lay-off was strictly a financial move that was being used by The Burns Corporation to save money. “I was bringing down a six figure salary. My entire department was laid off. I’m trying not to take my termination personally.”  To make matters worse Lynn was recently married and the couple recently purchased a lovely four bedroom home in Warren New Jersey. “We’re just beginning to pay down a jumbo mortgage. What are we going to do now without my salary?”

Losing your job is likely to have several very negative effects on your life. First, your next position is not likely going to be paying you as much as the one you just left. Secondly, the psychological blow of being laid off can prevent you from “acing” your best at your next interview.  To make matters worse you can count on the person interviewing you for a new position spotting your depression and anxiety.

As someone very intelligent once said “it’s not noticing the small details that can kill you”. Whoever this smart mouth was he was correct. This brings me to another important point. The smartest thing you can do for yourself is to become alert to the signs that lay-offs are coming. To help you accomplish this task I have compiled a list (yes another one) of the fifteen ways to know that lay-offs are coming in the near future.

  • Departments are being consolidated
  • A great deal of the work is being out-sourced
  • You are now doing the work of two people
  • You notice that your boss and the other executives look more haggard than usual.
  • There is an across the board hiring freeze
  • There is lots of gossip and panic at the water cooler and cafeteria
  • You are being very well compensated for what you do and now it’s getting difficult for your company to pay your salary
  • No one in your division received a bonus this year
  • Key employees are beginning to leave the company
  • The annual Christmas party is catered by Vinny’s Pizzaria rather than being held at the Mark II Restaurant up on 57th Street
  • Several of your important responsibilities have been given to one of your colleagues
  • Your manager has just handed you a “need to improve list” (this is a sure sign that you are on the way out)
  • Your division or department manager circulates a memo about the financial crisis the company is facing
  • You are no longer included in high level meetings
  • Your boss no longer sees you as a “rain maker”

Reality finally sets in. You are no longer employed by Smith and Goldstein. For the past eighteen years you have been diligently following orders. You’ve received rewards plaques, raises and exactly five years ago Mr. Geller, the CEO invited you and your family to his summer home for dinner where he referred to you as one of the “best and brightest executives in the company”

Every crisis provides a new opportunity


Sometimes we all need a little kick in the ego

Ok, it’s time to act. Even if you are not quite sure lay-offs are coming you should still prepare yourself for this unwelcomed event. Right now you need to do the following:

Update your resume and cover letter You should be able to adjust these all important documents for any opportunity that presents itself.

Begin to network if you haven’t already done so   Begin by joining professional organizations that hold conferences to encourage networking and sharing information. Many of my clients fail to network until they are laid-off. This will be frustrating and cause more anxiety then you need.

Build a financial reserve. I’m sure you’ve heard this at least a dozen or more times, but nonetheless it’s that important especially if you have a mortgage and family to think about.


Always act like a professional

Do: Begin looking for another job. Even if your fear of being fired never materializes you may be offered a new position at a higher salary.

Do: Speak to the people in the company’s human resource department. If you were fired request to have “laid off” placed in your file instead. This makes it easier when searching for your next job and it looks better on your resume. You also want to be sure that you are receiving a severance package. This should include several month’s salary, retention of health benefits for at least one year and your stock options if applicable.

Don’t Bad mouth anyone at the office or send nasty emails. This could back-fire and cost you a problem with your future employer. In addition do not complain about how badly you were treated by your ex employer during any of your job interviews. Always remember that no one like a wimp or a sore loser.

Don’t: Sit home and wait for the phone to ring. Go back to school and learn new skills so you can upgrade your career. Here’s an encouraging statistic for you. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review stated that “30% of all men and women who have been laid off between 2009 and May of 2015 have successfully started their own business. Now’s a good a time as any to strike out on your own.


If you have any questions about the information in this article or if you need guidance with your search for a new career please do not hesitate to contact me