You know what the best defense is for the risk of getting laid off? One year’s take home pay in the bank.
You’ll never remove the risk of a layoff. Job security is a myth. Even if you are consistently adding job skills to your resume, getting great reviews, and have confidence in your ability, getting laid off is a blow. Getting laid off with no savings in the bank quickly removes all those job skills, reviews and confidence — instead, desperation starts to grab hold.
And desperation is job search death. Hiring managers can see desperation a mile away. Desperation impacts your family and other relationships. It quickly starts a downward spiral in a job search.
You don’t want to be desperate when searching for a job (and I know many other there are desperate to find work).
The only way to avoid desperation in a job search is money in the bank. And not 401(k) or IRA money. No, savings.
Right now, getting to one year’s savings in the bank is very hard to do for most of us. I get that. I’m not there either. Nor can you save a year’s take-home pay in a year. People have those regular things called bills to pay and food to buy.
But you can make it a goal to get one month’s take-home pay in the bank this year. Figure out your take home pay, add in a good chunk more for a COBRA payment to maintain health care and then figure out how much to save monthly between now and the end of the year to get one month’s take-home pay in the bank.
And if you already have one month’s pay in the bank, get another. Saving that amount per month is desperation insurance. Insurance that desperation won’t impact your job search in the event you get laid off.
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.