Rumors of your employer’s demise have gone on so long — more than two years — and you’ve ceased to listen or react. Today, you boss told you the company would begin final layoffs in two weeks. (The company’s too small to give 60 days notice by law.) She estimates that your last day will be six weeks from now. You will receive severance, two weeks a year for every year of service plus unused vacation. That means you’ll get 30 weeks pay. What’s your best strategy? What plans do you have for your career after layoff, and before?
Most people want to take a month or so of vacation or down time before they begin a job search. Here are the reasons not to do that and fire up your resume and contacts immediately.
1. Part of the prejudice against job hunters who aren’t employed is the belief that if someone gets severance he/she will be less motivated than someone who needs a job immediately.
2. People with healthy work ethics begin job hunting immediately. At the least they take part-time jobs or freelance. “Doing nothing” is not an option.
3. If you can land a job within a few weeks of being laid off all that lovely money can go into your retirement account. This is important because your 401K won’t be funded once you’re laid off. We have a client who’s gotten buy-out packages twice that turned into healthy savings and IRAs.
4. You may be an acknowledged star in your industry but unless you’re also a visible one, especially in the trade press, it’s going to take you almost as long to get a job as an also ran.
5. If you’re over 50 you will face age discrimination. That lengthens the job hunt. Having to reprogram prejudiced minds is neither quick nor easy.
6. Once you get a new job you can ask to start two weeks later and take an earned vacation.
Having, I hope, strongly discouraged you from any but a 24/7 effort don’t forget that you may still be required to work at your current job. There may be projects to finish, customers to assuage, etc. You can’t job hunt full-time if your severance is dependent on getting the work out.
My experience has been that once it’s known the company is kaput, managers as well as the troops are job hunting as fast as they can. The best reason to be reasonable and give the company good work until the end is that all of your bosses and co-workers are going to land somewhere. What kind of tales do you want them to tell about you? Even in big cities, e.g., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, to name a few, old colleagues do run into each other. Even if you’re angry with management for not keeping the company profitable, it would be folly to put any sarcasm or recriminations into the grapevine. Mum, please!
Focus single-mindedly fon your identifying your next opportunity which will be more of the same. Don’t consider a career change. Change careers during your next job when you’re safely on the payroll so you can make considered, not panicked choices.
Contact Marilyn for Help With Career Strategies
Get your career on track pronto. Develop a successful strategy to get the job you want. Contact Marilyn Moats Kennedy now.