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If You Think You May Lose Your Job

Posted by Rob Riggins

lose your jobNo one wants to admit they are going to be terminated or laid off. But in the defense and intel contracting community, it certainly isn’t unusual. Contracts end. Budgets are cut.

Still, it’s a blow to the ego. We all want to believe we’re irreplaceable. After all, many of us define ourselves in a major way through our careers. And who doesn’t want to feel that they’re well liked?

As difficult as it may be, those that think their jobs are in jeopardy need to push ego and emotions out of the way as much as possible and think in practical terms. Doing so can make the difference between some form of financial security and pandemonium.

Of course that’s easier said than done, which is why it’s important to approach practical considerations in a rational way. Consider this checklist to get your financial and career houses in order in case the feeling of impending termination you feel becomes reality. And if your wariness about the security of your job proves misplaced, these steps will still improve your financial preparedness, and your knowledge of where you stand in the employment marketplace.

Prepare a budget. Yes, you have a certain amount of living expenses, but go through them carefully and decide what you can eliminate immediately. Can you cut the cord and do without cable TV? Daily Starbucks? A cleaning person? Take stock of what you can cut out immediately so you can save that money for use once you’re terminated.

Update your resume. There are several reasons for this. First, it’ll help you remember the positives of your cleared career. If you’re terminated or laid off it’s difficult not to wallow in the negative. This helps you avoid that. Now’s the time to review the goals you met, the innovations you championed, and the challenges you overcame. Put those accomplishment statements in writing on your resume.

Engage your network. You should be active with your career network whether you’re in a cleared job search or not. Often we don’t keep up those contacts when we don’t actively need them. Now is the time to re-engage with your contacts. You may be able to help them, too.

Attend job fairs. It’s often easier to get a job when you have a job. Check out a Cleared Job Fair or other job fairs and network. Talk to as many employers and job seekers as you can. Whether you are laid off or not, you may find a position that better suits your career goals.

Get your performance evaluations. It’s important to know exactly what positives and negatives your current employer has judged you on. Don’t be afraid to ask for copies of disciplinary actions too. After all, they’re part of your record. You want to understand your current employer’s concerns so that you can mount a defense against them – including how you have taken the concerns seriously and steps you’ve taken to resolve any issues — when you interview for new positions. Also, document the in-house and external training you have taken so that you can show you’re dedicated to improvement.

Turn off your 401(k) plan contribution. Saving for retirement is critical. You should restart your contribution if you discover your fear of termination was unwarranted. But if your job is in jeopardy and you’re going to need that money to survive if you lose it, consider turning off your contribution and bank the money.

Stop contributing to your IRA. Same as with your 401k contribution, if you’re terminated, you can use that money for your living expenses. Note the money you receive will be taxed, but you may need it if you have no income.

Research company stock options. Some companies offer them at discounted rates and allow owners to sell them back to the company at full price after a certain period. Analyze what stock options are available, the cost of such stocks, and the payoff you’ll receive if you resell them to the company.

Review your signing bonus agreement. You’ll want to understand if you need to repay the bonus. Some companies do not require repayment in certain situations such as during no-fault layoffs. Don’t assume you won’t need to reimburse the company. Read the fine print.

Send in your expense account. Gathering receipts and filing an expense report can be time consuming or just annoying. Still it’s easier to get reimbursement when you are employed. So take the time and prepare and submit your expense reports, now.

Review your sick, personal and vacation day payouts. When you face termination, it’s tempting to take personal time. Try to resist the urge even if you plan to use the time to revise your resume, consolidate bank accounts or job hunt. Use any payouts to cover expenses when you’re terminated.

Consider your health insurance policy. Once you are terminated, you may still have health insurance coverage. Request and review health insurance policies at your company. Also ask your spouse to determine if you and your dependents can join their health insurance policy.

Ask for references. Now is the time to ask former supervisors, colleagues, and clients to serve as a reference. It’s part of the process of engaging your network. Ask for recommendations via LinkedIn, too.

Ultimately, it’s about being prepared for what may happen next so you’re not caught completely off guard. Take charge of your career now, so you land on your feet.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 24, 2017 7:30 am

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