Think You Might Get Laid Off?
Trust me, you'll thank yourself later for passing on that new pair of shoes and sticking the money in savings instead. Now's the time to start eliminating the extras you can do without.
But the fact of the matter is, most of us have already cut the fat in our budgets, so where do you find the money to build up a cushion of cash if you don't already have one? If you're sure you've exhausted other resources, it's okay to pull back on your retirement contributions for a bit and direct that money into a liquid savings account instead, says Nathan Dungan, founder of Share Save Spend.
What you don't want to do is tap into your retirement account after you've made the contributions, because with that kind of withdrawal comes taxes and fees.
Employers expect you to negotiate, so long as you do it professionally. If you're unsure what to ask for, consult an employment attorney before signing on the dotted line.
Perhaps more importantly, these people also make these qualities visible to the top dogs. I'm not saying you should email your boss an update of what you're doing every day, but it doesn't hurt to volunteer to put in a few extra hours if needed or take the lead on a big project.
If you see signs that the budget is tightening, there are hiring freezes, or other people are being let go, that's always a tip off. You should be sure to follow any news stories about the organization, if it's high profile, or the industry as a whole, says Lita Epstein, author of Surviving a Layoff: A Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Your Life Back Together. "If they are saying that the industry is facing cut backs, or a lot of companies in the same industry are losing money, you know that there will most likely be layoffs."
One sign that they might be gunning for you in particular is if your workload gets significantly lighter.
If you start to notice things like this, it never hurts to put your feelers out and see who's hiring. Talk to people, including both friends and recruiters, and see what your options are.
For starters, your resume should always be up to date, and you want to continue to network with other people in your industry or the industry you want to become a part of.
You should also keep a journal of your successes, so you have a concrete list of the things you've been able to accomplish at work in case you need it for an annual review or job interview.
And finally, don't rely solely on your work computer. "You should always be sure to have a mirror image of your contacts on your home computer. This means all the people at work who you want to continue to network with, so you can get a hold of them if you need to use them for a job search," advises Epstein.
And if the worst does happen to you, follow my layoff survival guide.
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