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Scared of being laid-off!

Dear Sherry,

I've been at this job for 7 years... and I'm a bit worried. A new senior management team just came in and they have been restructuring various departments at my company (sometimes letting people go). They haven't reviewed our department yet, but I know they will in the next few months. I'm not thrilled with my job, but I am not sure I'm able to find another one. What do I do? What if they lay me off? Everyone in my department is feeling nervous. My husband and I have 2 kids and a morgage - we need my income!

May-Be-Stuck




Sherry's advice

Dear May-Be,

You did not mention the nature of your job or your educational background, but for now, so I will have to make some assumptions about your background. There are two paths you can take: 1) work hard to stay with your company, be part of the upcoming organizational change or 2) start looking for a new job.

In either case, your first steps are the same: 1) analyze your skills set and interests, 2) list out your achievements over the past 7 years, 3) sort out your priorities, and 4) figure out what the new senior management is looking for and determine what would impress the pants off of them.

ANALYZE YOUR SKILLS SET AND INTERESTS
Know yourself. What are you good at? What are your skills? Are they transferrable to other departments, other companies or other industries? What are you interested in? Have you let yourself become too complacent in this job? Do you need to further your education in order to consider another job? List out some areas you think you might be interested in.

LIST OUT YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Really think about what you have accomplished over the past few years. Employers look for people who can get things done. Go beyond daily responsibilities and think of what you have actually achieved - make them quantifiable if possible. For example: implemented a new customer service database and process, increasing the department's ability to handle new client inquiries by 50%. If over the past 7 years, you have been promoted, make sure you can highlight why previous management valued you.

FIGURE OUT YOUR PRIORITIES
What is most important to you? For example, intellectual stimulation, corporate culture fit, opportunities for career advancement, job security, high salaray, convenient location, 9-to-5... etc.

IMPRESS THE NEW MANAGEMENT
Figure out what the new management is looking for. They have been brought in for a reason - the changes they plan to make is supposed to make the organization better. It's all about the business. Based on your skills, interests, achievements and priorities, do you feel that you can contribute to the organization? Remember, if the new management doesn't make things better, there may not be a business for everyone to come back to. So, can you contribute? Do you want to be part of the new organization? If the answers are yes, jump right in and start showing your stuff. Provide your feedback, historical information, ideas about how to make things better and ways you can add value to the organization.

Once you have done these four steps, then you can start considering your options. Keep the options open for staying on or finding a new job. You want to be the one to have control over your own future. Don't leave it to other people. In other words, first secure your spot with the new management, THEN decide if it's a place you want to stay in. Wheather or not you want to stay, it's important to maintain a good relationship with the new management. If you want to stay, impressing them helps your case. If you want to move on, impressing them also helps your case. Do not put yourself in a situation where laying you off is the best option for the new management.

Rather than spending your time being worried or (even worse) being negative about the upcoming organizational changes, focus on your ability to add value... here or elsewhere.

Best of luck!
Sherry




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