Hey, HR Lady…


If a Lay Off is Looming Be Prepared…

Dear HR Lady:

Q I fear something is up with my company.  There are rumors circulating about a possible layoff or purchase of the company.  Either away, I am anxious that my job may be in jeopardy.  This not knowing stuff is killing me.  There have been a lot of closed-door meetings and secrecy and the employees are very nervous.                                                                                        – Jeremy S. Bend, OR

Dear Jeremy,
While the possibility of losing your job can be a very trying and emotionally draining experience, try to stay positive and make sure you are prepared.  In these situations, you need to hope for the best but expect the worst.  If you truly think your position with the company may be cut then you need to do what you can to prepare yourself.

1)   Update Your Resume – Make sure your resume is up to date.  Summarize and catalogue your position, responsibilities and accomplishments

2)   Start the Job Search – Start sending out your resume right away.  Look at targeted websites.  Not all companies advertise on job boards and advertisements.  

3)   References – Try to get at least three letters of professional references ready or at least three contact numbers of previous bosses.  Future employers will be looking at these closely to see what your previous employers had to say about your work ethic, character, performance and results.   A well-crafted reference letter from one of your previous “higher ups” carries a lot of weight in your job search.

4)   Don’t Leave Any Money on the Table –  A lot of times the employee is so hard hit by the news of their job loss that they forget to ask what is due to them.  Make sure you get paid out any unused accrued vacation.  Ask if you will be receiving a severance package.  Line up all your medical care and insurance needs.  Prepare to file for unemployment benefits.

5)   Start building a Savings – (you should have at least six months salary in the bank) in case it takes you that long to find another job.
6)   Investigate Options for Continuation of Health Insurance –   Investigate the cost to continue your health insurance benefits through COBRA or individual plans.  Look at benefits and premiums to see what you can afford.

7)   Don’t Burn Bridges – Although it may be very tempting to tell your employer how you really feel.  Do everything in your power to exit with grace and dignity.  Expressing your true, angry, hurt feelings rarely will do any good except for you to feel temporarily unloaded.  More often than not, those parting comments will come back to haunt you.  You never know when you might be working with some of these people again.  Do everything you can to tie up any lose ends regarding projects you are working on.  Exit with grace and professionalism.  

8)   Stay Active:  Get out and exercise or socialize to relieve your stress and improve your outlook.

Jeremy, there is good news around the corner for Central Oregon job seekers.  The latest report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis (OEA) contained more good news than it has in quite some time. Job growth surged in the first quarter of 2011; over-the-year growth was faster than at any time since the first quarter of 2007. Additionally, OEA upwardly revised their forecast for 2011 job growth from their last report (March 2011).   We are all waiting for the jobs to open up and we predict steady growth for the future into 2012, so
stay tuned…

Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA is the owner of The HUMAN Touch – Human Resources and Career Counseling Services www.theHUMANtouchHR.com  Send questions about your work related issues to Julie@thehumantouchHR.com.


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