Posted by Brian McCullough
This is part four of a five part post on How To Save Your Job. You can see the other entries here. Look for Part Five Tomorrow.
The Ninja Technique
They say a Ninja never enters a building without making a mental note of three or four ways to get back out in an emergency. If layoffs are on their way, and you’ve already done everything you can think of to prepare and protect your position, then the only other thing to do is wait.
Wait, and prepare your exit strategy. Remember, your first priority is to save your current job. But above all, you want to make sure you can stay employed, no matter what happens. These strategies are about being clear-headed and realistic. If you’ve done all you can do to protect yourself in your current circumstance, then now is the time to plan your escape, just in case this baby is going down anyway.
10 Ways Prepare Your Parachute
- Start preparing your personal budget. Money might be tight for a while. Even if everything works out ok, you might want to hold back on any major purchases for a while just to give yourself some breathing room. Pay off your credit cards if you can. And don’t put any new major purchases on credit.
- Been putting off any dental work or trips to the doctor? Might want to load up on anything medical. You don’t know how much longer you’ll have this insurance, or if the future insurance will be as good.
- Start lining up your contacts. I don’t mean go around and ask everyone where they see themselves in a couple of months. I mean just quietly confirm your contacts are up to date, both inside and outside the company. You might need to network with these people soon.
- Set up a non-work email address and begin transitioning at least your personal correspondence to this account. Eventually, you might need to transfer everything over to this email address, so better to do it in stages rather than all at once. Also, if you need to start a job search, you’re going to need a personal email anyway.
- Start making up personal business cards/networking cards. I recommend using Kinkos, NOT your office copier.
- Start updating your resume. Again, it would be best to do this outside of the office. At this point, you want to be giving the impression you are still a team player with 100% commitment to the company’s turnaround.
- Get a sense of possible job openings. This is an especially good tip for people in a position where they deal a lot with outside vendors, business partners, other divisions or even competitors. In as innocent a way as possible, try to get a gauge of the health of these other potential employers. Maybe they’re hiring, and maybe they’d think to hire you first since they know you and have worked with you. Start sending out feelers (again, as subtlety as possible).
- Start an active job search. Quietly.
- Trade gossip with other employees. In my years of experience working with outplacement and transitioning clients, I’ve discovered a reoccurring phenomenon. Especially in larger corporations – or when entire divisions get cut – a large percentage of the people end up transitioning to the same new employer. I’d say sometimes greater than 50% end up in the same place. The reason why is a combination of factors. First, people on a good, functioning team tend to stick together. Second, competitors or other companies love to poach functioning teams instead of having to build from the ground up. Thirdly, the natural tendency for people to network and give each other a helping hand tends to create groups of survivors who clump together at a new employer. Keep your ear to the ground. If a lot of people are heading for the same exit, see if you can go with them.
- Look for internal moves and give them serious consideration. Very often, downsizing companies will offer as many employees as possible a lateral move within the company. It might be a step down in pay or title, and it might mean a move across the country. But if this is offered to you as an option, it might be something to look in to.