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Preparing for a Layoff

Updated on June 10, 2012

How to Prepare for Losing Your Job

In these troubled economic times lots of people are feeling worried about the security of their jobs. What would you do if you went into work tomorrow and found out you were being let go? This hub provides some easy to follow tips that can help anyone who is at risk of a potential job loss. Rather than being paralyzed by fear, following these steps can have you back on your feet and ready to launch a new job search the moment you leave your current position.

Proactively Preparing for Unemployment

1. Update your resume: This is a good idea even if you're not in danger of being laid off, as you never know when a new opportunity might come up. Make sure you emphasize any managerial experience or cost management skills you might have, as both will by in high demand with potential employers in this economic environment.

2. Keep in touch with past contacts: Grab lunch or a drink with your colleagues, friends, and professional acquaintances. These are the people who might be able to help you down the road if you do need assistance--you want to stay in their good graces.

3. Save, Save, Save: Start pretending like you've been fired today in your spending habits. Cut out Starbucks and bring your own lunch to work (if you don't already). Cook more at home. Put off any big purchases, even if there are some ridiculous holiday sales out there: it doesn't matter how cheap a plasma is if you don't have a job in a few months.

4. Get in Job Application Mode Now: Start looking around for possible opportunities. Think about what other industries or occupations you might be able to transition into. Familiarize yourself with the websites and employment processes of potential employers, they might be different than what you've deal with before. Keep a list of potential openings and deadlines. This will save you time if you do end getting laid-off: you'll be able to jump right into the application process.

5. Try and Avoid Tapping Your Retirement Accounts: The penalties for early withdrawal from an IRA or a 401K make it a very, very bad idea to withdraw money if you can avoid it. Focus on increasing your cash savings right now so you won't have to tap these resources: the markets are so depressed right now is a terrible time to withdraw your money from a value perspective. In fact, if you can manage it, you might want to up your contributions to take advantage of historically low stock prices. Make sure you have sizable cash cushion before doing this though.

6. Take Advantage of Benefits While You Have Them: Dental insurance? Get your teeth cleaned and checked. See your doctor for a physical. It'll be a lot easier to identify and deal with conditions now while you still have insurance than it will if you are unemployed and need to pay for care out of pocket.

7. Take Care of Yourself: It can be hard when your stressed and worried about money, but make sure you set aside time for regularly exercise and eating healthy. You'll have more energy and be better able to handle these difficult times when you're feeling your best physically and mentally.

8. Try not to stress too much: Try and focus on the things you can control instead of worrying about the external factors you can't. Work as hard as you can in the meantime, as your effort might spare you the axe (or at least guarantee you a good recommendation if the worst happens). Get your resume together. Keep in touch with contacts. There is nothing you personally can do to turn the economy around, so don't stress about the market, internal office politics, or what is going through your bosses head.

 

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