[08.16.10]
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How Do I Prevent Getting Laid-Off Again?

Getting laid off is hard.  It can suck the life out of you.  Especially the first time you experience it.

getting laid off, recession, prevent, career strategy

I’ve said getting laid off is like experiencing a tornado. The way it can come so randomly. Picking folks out of the crowd and dropping them into a new unstructured world.

And while there are rare cases where getting laid off is seen as a positive (to get out of a bad situation), most often they are very difficult financially and emotionally. Especially when you lose a job that really matters to you. One that supports your desire to play a certain role in life. Or one that represents the best of your current social life.

If it does happen again down the road, please think about starting now to build a stable life and career platform. So that the job you lose is not your foundation. And has an effect that you can manage better than in the past.

While you cannot buy a guarantee to be avoid getting laid off again, there are things you can do reduce the chance. Worst case, if you cannot stop it, perhaps you can anticipate it and get a head start on beginning a smart passive job search.

Here are 10 ways to reduce the chances of getting laid off in the future.

Things you can do during the hiring process:

Do your research:

While a lay-off often cannot be predicted, there are certainly companies with a history of providing short stays for their employees.  If you are looking for a 5-10 year stay and beyond, how many people in the department have been there that long? Ask good questions to determine if the company has a stable environment.

Be yourself in interviews:

If you try too hard to be someone else.  In an effort to get the job.  You may get it.  But over the coming months it might become evident that you are not that person.  And that can lead to a change that is not in your favor.

Make sure there is a good fit:

If an interviewer badgers you with relentless questions.  Or never smiles during the interview.  Or doesn’t seem to have a strategic bone in their body.  You have a to make a good decision about fit.  So that you don’t find yourself as a square peg bouncing off the round hole everyday.

Accept a job that you can really enjoy:

To be truly happy at work, you need to do things that you naturally enjoy. And do them a larger percentage of the time.  If you accept a job without that evidence, there is a greater chance you will struggle to deliver the value your company desires.  And end up a former employee.

Be honest:

Don’t try to fudge anything on your resume.  It will only come back to bite you.  And often what you fudge doesn’t end up being the deciding point anyway.  But it can be a contributor down the road when it comes time to decide who stays and who goes.

Things you can do as you perform your job:

Ask what your boss wants:

Your boss has a job to do.  Numbers to deliver.  Knowing specifically what they want and delivering that each and every week will put you in a good place.  Find out how he/she likes to receive communication (e-mail, inter-office mail, etc) and send them a weekly update showing what you got accomplished that week.  Ask for feedback to see if you need to adjust along the way.

Use your networking skills:

Become someone that everyone knows.  For volunteering or delivering your role brilliantly during a cross-functional project. Or for being a welcoming face to new people.  Idea: have lunch at least three times a week with someone new.  Someone outside of your department.  And at least once a week, have lunch with someone outside your company.  To keep your larger network intact.

Accept extra projects with a smile:

And add value to each and every one you take on within your department.  Be willing to help people outside of your group as long as you are delivering on #1 above.

Be an expert in your functional area:

Information is power.  It is respected and appreciated.  Become the main source of knowledge about a new software program.  Know a key customer better than anyone else.  For this you will stand out and be called upon to deliver that expertise on a regular basis.

Take responsibility:

If something goes wrong, grab it and fix it. And let people know you are doing it. So that it is clear that people see you taking action.

Also, read a great book by Michael Watkins called The First 90 Days. It will help you successfully navigate life in the new job.

So a bit of prevention and a bit of action here. All to help avoid another undesirable outcome. Another unwelcome possibility of getting laid off.

What about you?  Share your thoughts on how to prevent getting laid off in the comments below.  What has worked for you?

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Advice

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