You’d think, after consistently seeing this chart and getting laid off a second time in my long career, that I would have been ready for the layoffs. After all, I knew it was coming.
You may or may not think you have a layoff coming in your future — but you will most likely have one. Companies are now laying people off as the first option for cutting expenses (you) more than ever. Do you know what happens in a layoff? The types of layoffs and how they determine if you stay or go? Do you know how much money you have in the company and how complicated it is to get it out?
Just as bad, your coworkers get laid off and you don’t and get to stay. You might think you’ve survived. But, you’ve survived one emotional challenge, but are now faced with another. The challenges to staying in your job after your coworkers were laid off are different: but just as corrosive to your career.
I have too much experience at layoffs. Both from laying my employees off. And getting laid off.
I’ve been laid off twice. As a manager, I’ve laid off more than my share of people as well. And I’ve watched entire departments blow up all around me when I’ve gotten to stay after everyone else was gone. In my longest stint at a company, I watched the payroll start at 105,000 and go to as low as 54,000 people before employment turned up again. It was scary. I learned all about layoffs and packages and incentives and the costs of staying. I’d like to tell you about how I can help you prepare for a layoff — or not getting laid off when your coworkers do.
Everyone realizes that if you get laid off, you need to look for another job. Everyone realizes that if you stay when everyone else gets laid off, your work will change.
What I discovered, though, was how difficult it was to organize all the pieces of the layoff — getting a severance check, knowing when effective dates were calculated for health insurance, vacation pay, 401(k) withdrawals, pensions, etc. All have different dates used to calculate what you get and when you get it.
When I stayed, I discovered how to tell if management was really getting what happened from the layoff and whether this was the last layoff for a while.
I’d like to share those discoveries with you and help you develop a plan for a layoff or a plan if you stay when everyone else is laid off.
Getting Prepared for a Layoff
- What you need to take home now to prevent your employer from keeping what is rightfully yours (Pages 4-7)
- What you need to do “when there is nothing to do” at work. Yes, there is. (Pages 7-10)
- What you need to do – financially and with your relationships – to meet “readiness” no matter when it may happen (Page 10)
- Seven critical questions that will help settle your risk profile (Page 14)
- Four dimensions to help you decide if you should stay or leave the position you have now, no matter the risk (Pages 16-21)
The truth of the matter is that all jobs are temporary. You will have multiple jobs during your career. Layoffs, in other words, are one of your learned job skills for a successful career. Not getting called into your manager’s office for the 15-minute meeting and walking out the door wondering what you will do to find a job and protect your family. No, you need to prepare and have a way to build a plan. And that’s where I come in.
The Layoff Process
Layoffs are commonplace – but there are variations. The deal is, all the pundits tell you to do “what you can do to avoid a layoff,” but the truth of the matter is there are three types — and doing “what you can do to avoid a layoff” only counts in one of them.
So I explain the different types. Then I explain how management in larger companies figure out who to lay off. I know how because I’ve done it. More often than I cared to, by the way. I know that getting the context of a layoff right helps you decide if you are likely to be one of the people laid off, or if you should stay.
Most people, you see, can’t explain the different layoff types — and then they do dumb things with their career because they interpreted the layoff the wrong way. As in, putting themselves into a higher risk profile.
So this section is short, but critical:
- Three types of layoffs – and what you can do or not do to influence your risk of layoff in each one
- Getting laid off without the layoff – two new wrinkles on reducing your pay without your say
Oh Oh. It’s meeting time.
Then, one fine morning your manager tells you that you are part of a downsizing. I’ve been there twice in my career and this section helps build your project plan to get your money and benefits out of your former employer. Building the plan right off a standard severance package for reference. And, yes, this is a project. This 14-page report goes right through all the important work you now need to do:
- Yes, you will grieve. Even if you were expecting a layoff. I know because I did. So did my wife when she was laid off with me. I know she grieved because she put her glasses away in the freezer. And was bright enough to think to find them there. Yeah. The freezer.
- What happens the day of the layoff – and what to do right away before all your systems access is taken away, emotional or not. It isn’t hitting the bar and partying away. (Page 5)
- Your layoff package – the basics and what to put in your layoff plan. These are the definitions you need to learn about so you know when you can get your money. (Page 7)
- Your layoff package – your last paycheck and severance. And they are not the same. Nor do they come quickly. (Page 8 )
- Your layoff package – your investments. Rollovers, stock options and more. None of them work the same way after a layoff. (Page 10)
- Your layoff package – benefits. Health care, insurance and more. When do they stop? What can you do? (Page 12)
- Building your plan — putting all of this together lets you build a list and put your critical dates on a calendar so you know what you need to do next.
Lucky You — You Stay
- The survivor’s syndrome — people don’t even know what to say to people laid off plus recognizing your need to grieve. (Page 3)
- Five perspectives to help you rate the risk of your job after the layoff — this puts the layoff in perspective and gives you guidance for what’s likely to come next. (Page 7)
- Five practices to put into effect after the layoff to protect your job — it’s easy to simply stop working after a layoff — and kill your chances to produce results. This helps you keep up your focus on the right stuff. (Page 9)
- The layoff trap for those who stay — there is a reason people end up working 80-hours a week after a layoff. (Page 11)
- How playing defense will limit your career — Seriously, you can only play defense so long.
- The fundamentals of playing career offense — How to turn a layoff situation around
Just because you survived a layoff doesn’t mean your way forward is clear — it’s not. This item is worth the price of the entire product because it explains how to know if more layoffs are coming and the perspectives and practices you need to stay successful on the job.
Putting Your Career on Offense
You see, layoffs make it easy for the person laid off: focus on getting the next job — and one with possibilities. Laid off people really do get to choose the next industry they want to work in, define what corporate culture they work in and the type of manager they want to work for.
Laid off people go from stability one day to chaos the next. And in the chaos comes creativity, looking to solutions, and working to find the next job.
But, afterwords, there is just as much chaos for those who stay with the company. Reorganizations, new roles, perhaps new managers — it is just as much uncertainty and chaos.
And chaos leads to….opportunity. If you have done the right stuff and are ready. You know, like a Cubicle Warrior does. I’ve done a lot of thinking through how to get your career on offense, but it boils down to this 15-page report:
- The “playing career offense” formula for success (Page 3)
- How to carry out the formula for your next job if you are laid off — or if you stay (Page 6)
- Putting it all together (Page 8 )
It’s better to be on offense in your work because everyone else on the planet is playing defense.
Each module helps you prepare for a layoff
Getting Prepared nails your to-do list for what you need to do now to prepare for a layoff.
The Layoff Procedure tells you the three types of layoffs and two new wrinkles on layoffs – and what you can do about them.
The Layoff explains the emotional turmoil of a layoff and how to build your layoff project plan.
You Stay tells you what to do if your teammates are laid off – and you are not.
Playing Career Offense shows you the career formula for success and what you can do to get your career in gear, laid off or not.
It took me a long time to fully build out my plan from my severance package and layoff terms. But I purposely created a path that would allow people to prepare for a layoff so they wouldn’t fear a layoff. Knowing what’s coming and having a plan — at least seeing how someone else built it — reduces your fears. It helps you to know what’s next on the list to get done.
I’m not an attorney nor an accountant. What I want to do is show you one person’s plan so that you can build your own when your time for a layoff comes. Your layoff will come, you know. Seven or eight million job losses in this recession alone should tell you to get ready.
The Surviving a Layoff package is free
Most of us will be laid off at some point in our career. Preparing for a layoff is not a one week exercise. Getting ready now will help you survive the layoff – and thrive in your career.
Having a layoff plan and knowing how layoffs work will give us the career advantage we need to bounce back from a layoff – or use the layoff to further our career plans.
Don’t play career defense. Click here to download a zip file with all of the modules listed above: