Before You Lose Your Job: Tactics to Review

Posted by Dawn Boyer

Hearing whispers in the office corridors about layoffs or future terminations strikes terror and instills worry in everyone. Especially in the current economic crisis. If your job is in jeopardy, take steps now so you’re ready for that final HR call.

The most important step in the plan is to update the resume. Reflect on achievements and accomplishments over the last few years. Record goals met, and research any metrics associated with those objectives. These will be valuable for your resume to show your capabilities.

Obtain electronic copies or paper printouts of evaluations (as well as any disciplinary actions).  Document any in-house training or external vendor training received over the course of employment to show willingness to learn and add to current skills and increased job proficiencies as a result.

Be prepared to take financial steps. If you know termination is eminent, turn-off the payroll 401(k) plan contribution. Temporarily stop IRA auto-withdrawals. While taxed, the extra money in the take-home check should be saved to sustain living expenses for potential unemployment periods. If options for company stock were received at a discounted rate – purchase those immediately, then exercise the option to sell them back to the company at full price at the next trading opportunity.

If you received a signing bonus, re-read the offer letter’s fine print. There may be repayment involved if goals or objectives were not reached before termination. If the company is considering lay-offs due to no fault of the employee, the sign-on bonus may default to a no-obligation payback.

If there is an expense account in the employee’s name, consolidate all receipts, ensure all expenses are accounted for, and submit for reimbursement quickly to pay off the account. Once the employee has physically left, it may be hard for accounting to reconcile. The company may seek reimbursement directly from remaining pay for any unexplained expenses. This could show as a non- or late-payment against the employee’s credit ratings (if not resolved).

If there is paid personal, sick days, or vacation hours due to the employee, determine if the amounts are to be paid in a lump sum or paid over time. Use these ‘windfall’ funds wisely. Invest in a career counselor, resume coach, or life coach to carefully get new skills or tools honed for a faster job search and avoid wasted time.

Read up on the COBRA options for health insurance policies under currently benefits. If a spouse has health insurance the employee (and any dependents) can be added based on ‘change of life circumstances’. Obtain and submit the paperwork quickly. This must be completed within 30-days of change date. Question any life or long-term disability policies – are they vital to retain or can you let them go?

If the company allows LinkedIn profiles – start soliciting recommendations from clients, peers, or supervisors, as well as past employers. A profile with 10-15 recommendations looks like a ‘hot’ candidate to recruiters. If the boss questions a request, infer building of subject matter expertise status for business development and marketing for the company. While you are on social media (do this ethically, personal time or equipment), look back at all other social media accounts. Look at profiles with a ‘biased’ eye – are there rants or off-color remarks? Are there posts that demean your character? Delete it, or turn the profile to ‘off’ or ‘private.’

Look at cost of living expenses. What can be turned off immediately? Satellite TV, kids’ cell phones, weekend trips to theme parks or the beach? Or cut back within the next 30-days luxury monthly obligations. What big-ticket purchases or vacations can be postponed until hired for the next job? Note: If a huge down payment has been made for an expensive vacation, go! The loss of a large deposit may not be worth the cancellation versus relaxing with family and regrouping for the future.

Cooperate with HR and the company if in a layoff situation – these actions are just as hard emotionally on the other side of the table. Cooperation and a positive outlook will ensure easier communications for finishing up business and personal actions after the termination. Map out your plan. If the axe comes down, you will be better prepared and ready for action.

Dawn Boyer is a career services coach, social media management, human resources, and business development consultant. Follow Dawn on Twitter @Dawn_Boyer.


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 7:16 am

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