Things You Can Do If You Anticipate Being Laid Off

anticipate being laid off

Companies left and right are downsizing in this volatile economy. Perhaps you've seen the warning signs. The company starts taking austerity measures, parties are cancelled, and there's no talk of annual bonuses or raises -- these are all signs that the company might be experiencing financial difficulties and is looking to lay off a few employees. 

If you think you might be the next employee to be handed the pink slip, here are a few things you ought to do:

Don't Panic!

A lot of employees dread getting laid off, and it's understandable. However, panicking isn't going to help and chances are it'll make you look bad in front of your boss and co-workers.

There's no point worrying about something that isn't a given, so you might as well keep calm for the time being. The best thing to do is to keep your cool and refrain from speaking negatively about the company and the situation it's in.

You never know who's listening and it could reflect poorly on you.

Continue With Your Tasks

Just keep working, even with the proverbial axe hanging over your neck. Since you're not even sure that there's going to be a move to downsize the number of employees, you need to remember that your first priority as an employee is to continue working.

Do not let your responsibilities slide just because you're freaked out by the possibility of being laid off. Plus, if you work well under pressure, it might even count for you and save you from the dreaded pink slip.

Make Use Of Your Benefits

A lot of employees don't think about the benefits offered by the company, but this is a serious mistake. If you do get laid off, you won't have the insurance benefits provided by your company.

If your company offers medical and other health benefits, make sure you use them before you get laid off. Quickly schedule a dentist appointment, get new eye glasses if you have coverage for that, and so on. It would be a waste to let these benefits go unused. 

Confirm Your Financial Security

Hope for the best but prepare for the worst: this is a mantra that best suits a situation like this.

You don't know if you will be laid off, but your best bet is to make sure that you're financially covered. While your company may give you a severance package, it is still very important to have a plan.

You need to make sure you have enough money for your expenses, debt or loan payments, etc. If you can, start saving money now, just in case.

Update Your Resume

Chances are you have gotten complacent in your position and you've neglected your resume. Update the old document or create a new one. Make sure to include all vital information regarding your job and your responsibilities. 

Update Your Skill Set

It's also important to make sure that you're ready to wade back in to the job pool. Update your skills by taking a few online classes.

In fact, your current employer might even help you by providing financial aid while you go back to school. Many organizations now offer an employer tuition reimbursement program to help individuals upgrade their education.

If you can take advantage of this program before being laid off, it will give you the skills necessary to thrive if your company chooses to downsize. The majority of the time, you can take these additional classes online, so you can stay at the job and upgrade your skill set at the same time.

This will also help you get ready in case you have to start applying for a new job soon. 

Remove Personal Data From Your Office Computer

Since most employees who are laid off barely have enough time to clean out their desks, you can just imagine the sort of personal data they could leave behind on their computer before they're hustled out.

As well, many companies will even go as far as to suspend your computer logon account while you are being told that you are being laid off.

This prevents any disgruntled employees from sending out one final email before they head out the door.

If you sense that you may be laid off, start removing personal data from your work machine, and create a backup copy of your address book. 

Start Looking For A New Job - Discreetly

It doesn't hurt to be prepared, so start looking for a new job. A warning, though: you want to keep this as quiet as possible. Don't start advertising.

You can begin by asking a few close friends and contacts for job leads. Of course, if you do end up finding a better job then good for you! Just make sure that you don't start becoming too obvious in your job search, especially where your co-workers and your manager are concerned. 

Have you ever been in a job where you anticipated being laid off? What did you do to prepare yourself?


    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 05/01/2013 5:11 a.m. #

      I have not been in a job where I anticipate being laid off, but these are all great tips if you are in that position. Whether you anticipate being laid off or not, updating your resume and keeping an eye on potential opportunities is always a good thing.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 3:52 p.m. #

        I agree. Sometimes the best way to move up in your career is to move to a different company, so it never hurts to keep aware of other options.

    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 05/01/2013 6:32 a.m. #

      I think you're right about trying not to panic, though I'm sure that's easier said than done when you really get down to it. I think it's also good to do some research beforehand on what to expect in terms of benefits and all that. Understanding things like your expected severance (usually an HR policy), when benefits are typically paid, getting familiar with COBRA, and having some advance knowledge of your unemployment options will help make things a tad less worrisome should the dreaded layoff arrive.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 3:55 p.m. #

        Yes, all of those things are definitely important. As well, I just remembered too, that some companies offer free career coaching and job placement assistance, so it would be good to know if the company you work for does that too.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 05/01/2013 6:45 a.m. #

      Love the "make use of your benefits" tip. We did that when Rick was laid off 3 years ago, as they luckily gave him a six-week notice that he would be laid off. I would add too that if you aren't financially prepared, to get that way right quick and start learning how to live on a strict budget and save money or pay off debt. Great post, Sicorra!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 3:57 p.m. #

        Six weeks notice is amazing. While it is definitely not nice to be laid off (unless a person really wants to be) having that time to prepare and use up your benefits is very helpful.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 05/01/2013 10:28 a.m. #

      Discreetly is the operative word. It is very difficult to job search discreetly. The best way is to network, but there is the risk of someone at your employment finding out.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 3:58 p.m. #

        True, you need to be very careful, but at the same time, you need to look out for yourself.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 05/01/2013 11:34 a.m. #

      I've only been laid off once and in the 12th hour I my job was saved but let me tell you there was an instance of panic during that brief period.

      You've shared some great advice Sicorra, especially "do not panic". I know it seems like the end of the world but I've come to believe that everything happens for a reason. When one door closes and new and better one will open. :)

      My other favorite is updating the skill set. There's no time to waste so it's good to get on the ball and improve those skills.

      Hope you're having a great day my friend.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 4:01 p.m. #


        "When one door closes and new and better one will open. :)" I completely believe in that as well. I actually worked for a corporation once that did a ton of lay offs every second year and the people received huge severance packages, but yet they were so upset. And I just kept thinking of your quote over and over again.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 05/01/2013 12:15 p.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra! Before I returned to private practice, they laid off my entire team and it was incredibly difficult. We were a close-knit team and it wasn't my decision to let them go. The good news (sort of) was that they all expected it and had plenty of time even before the announcement to prepare themselves. It's excellent advice to take advantage of your benefits while you still can. Get all your yearly check-ups done beforehand, if possible. Budget and network too. Even if you don't get laid off, if you're company is still financially unstable, I'd start networking so you have the possibility to leave on your terms.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/01/2013 4:05 p.m. #

        That is incredible Shannon, but yes, at least your team had the time to prepare themselves. I always took full advantage of my benefits, including massages, but I think many people simply forget about them. And you are right, whenever you feel like something drastic could happen to your job, you need to begin looking around and you might be able to move on to something better anyways.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 05/02/2013 5:15 a.m. #

      Very helpful tips. A few years' back my business unit was sold and we knew we would be downsized at some point. The one thing I did as much as I could was get every medical and dental exam finished before my benefits were gone. I also took full advantage of the career resource center that was offered to displaced employees free of charge when we were let go. I was surprised by those that didn't. It was a major factor in landing my next job.
      And in the long run, getting pushed out of a career I had been in over fifteen years was probably the best thing for me. It forced me to open my eyes and see what else is around me.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/02/2013 11:36 a.m. #

        Carol, I often think that too. Sometimes we want to make a change but are too afraid. Then the company we work for makes the change for us, and it forces us to move on, and we usually end up in a better place. Good for you as well for taking advantage of all of the service offered to you. I always wonder why people skip that.

    • Anthony @ Thrifty Dad

      Anthony @ Thrifty Dad 05/02/2013 8:09 a.m. #

      All great tips! My job's just going through another round of cuts, that I just narrowly avoided, yet again. But it might be a good time, especially if you're in a creative job, to gather any projects that you worked on, that could potentially help you in your job search/interviews. About being discreet, especially with LinkedIn today, I see less and less trying to keep a low profile. It's pretty obvious who is and isn't looking for a job. I'm not sure it's a bad thing though, those who ask, get jobs :).

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/02/2013 11:42 a.m. #

        Congrats on not being cut! I was thinking about LinkedIn as well. I see a number of people on there shouting out that they are looking for a new job, yet they are still employed. While looking while you are employed is a good thing, but should everyone that you currently work with find that out. I guess it could be okay if everyone you work with has been told that there will be job cuts, but if not, then it is not very discreet.

    • Debbie

      Debbie 05/02/2013 12:23 p.m. #

      This is something that happened to me back in the early 90s, so I can relate. Very happy to be self-employed these days! Your advice is excellent, Sicorra.

    • Mike @ Personal Finance Journey

      Mike @ Personal Finance Journey 05/02/2013 6:54 p.m. #

      One of the most painful things that can happen to people is to get terminated from employment. This is a big blow but it is not the end of the world yet. The things you have listed are useful to get off to a fresh start. We all have to be ready to embark on a new challenge and be serious about it. Thanks for the tips.

Comments are closed.