TTG Consultants
TTG Consultants Human Resources Consultants Specializing in  Career Management and Corporate Change

Layoffs are everywhere. Nobody is secure in a job anymore. NBC News and two New York newspapers recently reported a survey indicating 1/3 of all New York State workers are fearful of losing their jobs. And, that figure doesn't seem to be different anywhere else. 

The reasons? Global competition is causing manufacturing flight to the third world, as well as corporate mergers which cut costs (and jobs). Downsizings are particularly affecting white collar workers, who are suffering over 60% of the layoffs. Of these, older employees (those over 45) are increasingly finding themselves on the bricks -- to reduce wage rates, pensions and benefits. 

So, how can the American worker keep a job, or get a better one? Here are 20 things to start doing today! 

Stay strategies (for weathering a merger or a downsizing): 
  1. Begin taking charge of your own career. Manage it like a business, which it is.
    Realize no job is "guaranteed" today, and nobody is indispensable. 
  1. If merger rumors are everywhere, realize the new company culture will be different. Start thinking about: will I fit in, where will I fit, what will I do and where (with what group/team/boss)?
  1. Start researching the buyer or merger partner. Talk with the buyer's/partner's employees about turnover, promotion methods, compensation, dismissal process (severance and benefits continuation). Read annual reports and business articles about the buyer's/partner's products and services, facilities, finances.
  1. Investigate what other jobs might need your skills in the merged, or soon-to-be- downsized organization.
  1. Begin developing any new skills you feel you may need for the new organization --now!
  1. Re-work your resume to fit the new needs of the merged or downsized company.
  1. Get frank feedback from your boss about your survival chances, and get copies of all past performance reviews.
  1. Begin creating "visi-posure" -- visible exposure for self-marketing. Look for high visibility in-house, as well as community outreach assignments. Find a community betterment project, a scout troop to lead, a little league team to coach. Then write an article about the experience for the company newsletter, or a local paper. Investigate speaking engagements at local clubs and associations -- talk about something you know or do well. Top management listens to and sees the media, so get some exposure.
  1. Figure out how you can help the company save or make money. Now's the time to bring out that idea you've been nurturing about a better system, a less expensive vendor, a better way to approach a customer. You've nothing to lose, so sound off!
  1. Be there -- don't be a clock watcher or a sick-out. Not now.
  1. Make certain you are always congenial -- unliked people are usually the first to be laid-off.
  1. Up-date your network of contacts within the company, so you can find other opportunities if the ax falls on you, your team or department.
Get-out strategies (if you don't "fit" or you want a better job): 
    1. Plan to exit if…

      • You aren't doing, or can't do what you enjoy,

      • Your company/industry is shrinking,

      • The company is financially unhealthy and prospects aren't good for improvement,
      • Moral is low (furrowed brows, grim faces, slumped shoulders on execs; low productivity in lower ranks),

      • Promotion trends are sideways or down instead of up,

      • Outside hiring or outsourcing of services is increasing.

    1. Bring your resume up-to-date -- with accomplishments, not just titles and responsibilities.
    1. Begin researching alternative companies and industries. There are hundreds of resource materials at your local public library, from books to CD-ROMS. Don't forget the Internet, with over 200,000 job postings.
    1. Stay calm, don't panic. You probably have several weeks or months to find your new job.
    1. But -- get your campaign going now! The merger and/or downsizing may not be as "gradual" as management says.
    1. Realize that finding a job is an eight hour a day job. You won't have eight hours (if you're still employed), but use lunch time for networking, interviewing and researching; weekends for resume up-dating and re-training.
    1. Plan your exit to coincide with your scheduled termination date (if that's been decided), so you can pocket any severance or other goodies.
    1. Tell your family of your situation -- whether you decide to weather the storm, leave, or if you've been terminated. It's only fair to them, and you'll need their support.

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