Last Friday the U.S. Labor Department announced 533,000 people lost their jobs in November. This figure represents the largest number of layoffs in a single month in some 34 years. For those fortunate to remain employed the numbers are a worrying statistic. Will we be next to join the growing number of unemployed?
While there are no guarantees, there are a number of things we can do to make ourselves a little more “layoff proof.” Of course, none of this advice will save your job in the event the company you work for goes belly up, or the industry you are in suffers such extreme losses that your employer’s hand is forced. Having said that, implementing a few of the strategies below should help to lessen the time you are unemployed and help you quickly get back on your feet.
Make Yourself Layoff Proof
Network with others. One of the very best things you can do, even in good times, is keep in touch with colleagues past and present. Often the best opportunities are revealed by a close contact rather than an online classified ad. Make an effort to keep in touch with former colleagues periodically via email, or even send a snail mail note with your new business card attached. In the event of a layoff you should contact them and let them know you are currently seeking employment. If you have maintained a good relationship with contacts, and they are well aware of your skill set, they will be happy to keep an ear to the ground in their organization for any openings.
Find ways to save your company money. In lean times, one of the best things you can do is find ways to save your company money. Is there a more efficient way to do things? Can you develop automation to reduce time and costs for laborious tasks? Suggest ways to make your company more green. Be frugal with the company’s money when traveling or entertaining clients.
Learn a new skill. Much like what goes on in the interview and selection process, employers are often faced with making similar tough decisions during rounds of layoffs. They may have two equally qualified, similarly productive employees facing a layoff. One employee has considerably more experience in a variety of systems, products or processes. Who would you let go? Take advantage of opportunities to diversify the roles you can fill for your employer. Cross-training is an overused term in the corporate world, but it is important to you as an employee because it builds your internal resume with employers.
Be willing to take on new challenge. Similar to adding to your skill set, willingness to take on a new project at work goes a long way. People have a tendency to get complacent and settle into a comfort zone at the office, turning down new assignments or sandbagging them by appearing uninterested. Don’t be that person! If you are, you’ll be at the top of the list during the next round of layoffs.
Develop a side hustle. This doesn’t have anything to do with your current job, rather it is a hedge against losing your primary job. By developing a side hustle you can provide a stream of income in the event you lose your job. The amount may only represent a fraction of your previous full-time earnings, but it might be the difference between keeping food on the table and the lights on.