Preparing for a Layoff

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Layoffs are a common part of today’s business world. It is important for employees to recognize that there is always a chance that your company can be bought, sold, or merged. 

It can even implode. 

In a market where more emphasis is being put on churning profits than ever before, most companies are susceptible to the occasional takeover. It makes business sense to merge assets; however it’s usually at the expense of the company’s employees. 

In order to protect yourself, you should always have an escape plan.  The first step is to keep your network fresh.  When colleagues leave your employer, you should make sure you get their new contact information and stay in touch. They can be valuable resources in creating inroads with their new employer. Additionally, they can be great assets as potential references or referrals. 

Next, you should always have a resume that is updated and ready to be sent out. You never know when catastrophe will strike and your job will be in jeopardy. Putting together an effective and current resume ensures you will be prepared for such changes. 

It also helps to have a target list of companies with whom you would like to be employed. If you do the research and plan accordingly, you may already know some of the potential key players you should be contacting in the event of a layoff. 

If you don't have a career advisor in your corner – someone you can trust and who is looking out for your best interest – you are doing yourself a disservice. Career counselors and staffing specialists are great resources. They have access to opportunities that may not be published elsewhere. Given that they are master networkers, they can cover much more ground than any one individual may be capable of. 

Lastly, you should remain flexible, as you never know where your future may lie in the business world. For example, the Financial Services market has been consolidating dramatically over the last 10+ years. Many people have been displaced as a result, and were either forced into early retirement or received nice severance packages but with fewer opportunities to vie for. 

New York is the Financial Capital of the world; Financial Services employees who have desperately tried to make transitions into alternative industries have suffered massive casualties. Although most people consider their skill sets transferable, many employers look for candidates in their own industries and are not flexible. 

Where does that leave you if you find a bank or brokerage firm has left you out in the cold? You need to adapt and increase your industry expertise. Oftentimes this can be achieved by simply taking on a consulting assignment at a company in a different industry and leveraging that experience to get a permanent job within that same industry.

Jonathan Mazzocchi is a partner in the New York Accounting & Finance Division of Winter, Wyman. You can find him at www.winterwyman.com