Contingency Measures – Advice on What to Do If You Are Separated From Your Job

Business Coach Column by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) from the Manila Bulletin

Job loss can be devastating for anybody. The resulting economic dislocation can create trauma, not only for you but also for your family. The feeling of just being dumped after years of loyal service makes one feel miserable and despondent. All of a sudden, you are now forced to make hard decisions fast in order to cope with the crisis.

Due to the global recession, redundancies and layoffs have become very common in many companies. While cutting labor expenses may be a necessary measure to deal with poor revenues and to prevent further losses, it is greatly feared by most employees.

Acceptance of being redundant or laid off depends on one’s preparedness. It can be dealt with more easily if you expected it, or you were able to prepare for it for, say, at least two or three months. However, for some who were unlucky, the job separation comes so unexpectedly that they have no time to think of measures that will help them minimize the damage from the situation.

If you have recently been a casualty of layoffs, you may do the following to hasten the process of recovery:

Get a recommendation from your boss. Before leaving the office, make sure you get a nice recommendation or referral letter from your former boss. Never leave in bad terms with your former superiors. S/he may be able to help you seek employment from friends, colleagues, or even from some loyal clients. Never burn bridges. Also, do not forget your co-employees. Maintain your good ties with them; they may give you vital information as to job vacancies. Always stay connected.

Take a few days off. You may rest for one or two weeks so you can recover from the anxiety you experienced after finding out that you were laid off. This will also allow you time to reflect on your situation and decide on your next course/s of action.

Remain calm and positive. Enjoy the company of your family and friends. They will support you and help you get up and about in no time.

Eliminate all unnecessary expenses. Check your spending habits. Now is not the right time to buy the iPad you saw on TV. You may also control your desire to drink coffee from an expensive coffee chain, or eat at five star restaurants. As much as possible, have enough money to last you at least three to six months or until you are able to find a new job. How much did you get as separation pay? How about your other savings and assets? Are you liquid enough? Do you have other sources of funds? Be mindful of your cash flow.

Evaluate all your options. Do you want to get a job different from your previous work, or still want the job title you previously had? Would you consider getting a job with lower pay as a temporary measure? Do you want to go a different direction by starting your own business? Be open to suggestions made by relatives and friends, but still, in the end, you must be the one to choose from a variety of options.

Prepare. Write a detailed resume. Make sure you include all your skills and talents, all accomplishments and awards received. You may also consider retraining before applying for a new job. If you have no computer skills, you may enroll in a short course before applying for a new job. If you are considering a career in sales, you may attend seminars that can equip you with up-to-date knowledge about the latest selling and networking techniques. Lastly, do not forget to attach the recommendation letter you got from your previous boss!

Actively seek a job. Seek a job as if there is no tomorrow! Scour the newspapers for job openings. Attend job fairs. Network. Look for job openings online. And, if you fail, do not be discouraged. Sleep well at night, for tomorrow is another job-seeking day. Smile, and keep your hopes high.

Being laid off is not the end of the world. It is crucial that you do not feel depressed or angry when you lose your job. Who knows, your current situation may prove to be the stimulus for you to attain your dreams. With the golden handcuffs of job security no longer there to restrain you, you can now go full blast in search of new and better opportunities. In other words, see an opportunity where others would see an obstacle!

(All rights reserved. Copyright by Manila Bulletin and Ruben P. Anlacan, Jr. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)


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