10 Ways to Be Ready for a Layoff You Didn’t See Coming

Employee job security is a thing of the past. No matter how secure you think your job is, the possibility of the unexpected happening is always possible. In this case, that unexpected thing could be a layoff. Just look at how tech layoffs have drastically affected the lives of many.

Regardless of your job’s security, always be prepared for a layoff. My motto is to expect the best but prepare for the worse. Here are ten things you can do to always be ready for a layoff you didn’t see coming:

1. Keep Your Resume Updated

As you’re learning new skills and moving up the ladder, make sure to update your resume with this information. It’s so easy to forget when you land a job opportunity that you feel secure in, especially if you plan to be there for a while. Make sure your resume notes things like:

  • Notable projects you’ve worked on
  • Noteworthy accomplishments
  • Degrees and certifications you earned
  • New skills
  • Promotions

Remember that your resume can also include volunteer work.

2. Update Your LinkedIn Profile

If you have a LinkedIn profile, you’ll also want to update this just as you update your resume. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you should seriously consider creating one. LinkedIn has viable job searches, and many professionals seek LinkedIn profiles to find their next new employee.

3. Grow Your Network

Networking has always been crucial. Social media became the best way to do this throughout the pandemic. Finding groups relevant to your goals is a great way to network. LinkedIn is also another great place to grow your network.

Engagement is just as crucial as joining a social network. As you’re joining these groups or connecting with individuals, you’re also engaging with them. While social media is excellent for networking, don’t discount opportunities to meet with people live and in person. MeetUp and Eventbrite are great places to seek out networking events.

4. Never Be Comfortable: Always Be Contemplating Your Next Step

Never get complacent on your job. It’s easy to get so comfortable on your job that you miss opportunities to expand and grow. It’s not that you’re “quiet quitting,” but you’ve become complacent and don’t even realize it. That is what being too comfortable on a job can eventually look like. The way to counter that is always looking for opportunities to grow on your job and take more responsibility. While doing that, consider how your new responsibilities affect your next steps in life. That way, you’re always forward-thinking, which could mean being at a different job or doing something completely different. Then, if you’re ever laid off, it won’t feel like the end of the road for you because you were already contemplating better things for yourself. Getting laid off now gives you the out you need to go and get it.

5. Work Your Budget and Save

Budgeting should always be a part of your routine regardless of job security. Budgeting allows you to practice safe spending and keeps you focused on your goals. Every budget should have a savings mechanism built into it that helps to prepare you for a rainy day. Whether it’s an emergency or other savings fund, security comes in knowing you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. A good emergency fund should have at least three to six months of expenses saved up. That way, if you were laid off, you’d know how much cushion you have before finding another job.

6. Always Take Advantage of Your Benefits

If your job offers benefits that allow you to see the doctor or dentist, utilize those benefits fully.

When you’re laid off, you won’t be able to make routine visits to the doctor because appointments will get costly. So, while you may not like taking a sick day to make doctor’s appointments that you feel are unnecessary, taking advantage of those benefits is better. So, hit the dentist, or the doctor, fill those prescriptions, and even visit the gym while you can.

7. Know Your Rights as An Employee and Be Ready to Negotiate Severance Pay

Once you’ve landed what’s seemingly a stable job, take the time to read through all of your employer documents. As you’re reading through the documentation, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Are unused vacation or personal days paid out? If so, how is it prorated?
  • What about outstanding expenses? Are you eligible for COBRA, which can allow you to have insurance coverage up to 18 months after losing your job?
  • Are you subject to a nondisclosure or a non-compete agreement?

Not all companies offer a severance package after being laid off, but if yours does, read it carefully to ensure you understand what it covers. Then consider negotiating a more favorable package that will bring benefits to tide you over for a while or possibly even help with job placement elsewhere.

8. Know How Unemployment Benefits Work In Your State

If you’ve been fully employed for most of your work life, unemployment benefits will likely not be at the top of your mind. But keep unemployment benefits in mind. Determine your eligibility based on your state and file a claim.

9. Start a Side Gig

If you have a passion, it’s time to start fulfilling it and using it to earn extra income. Figure out how to do what you love. If you ever get laid off, you could turn that side gig into a full-time viable business.

10. Check The WARN Notices

Lastly, if you really want to be ahead of layoffs at your job, you could if your employer employs at least 100 employees — and here’s how. A U.S. labor law called The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) of 1988 protects employees, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide advance notification (60 calendar days) of planned closings and mass layoffs.  To learn about job closings or mass layoffs in your state, do a Google search on “warn act” and add the name of the state that you live in. Do this regularly so you can always have a heads-up on the status of layoffs where you work.

Although, take note that some companies work around this act by staggering the layoffs or keeping the headcount of layoffs under a specific number.

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The Bottom Line

Being laid off can shock the system and leave you devastated, wondering how to move forward. While initially, it can diminish your self-worth, doing the abovementioned things can help put you back on track and provide you with the resourcefulness you need to recover financially and mentally.

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