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When Layoffs Are Coming

When Layoffs Are Coming

Bruce Taylor
copyright Unison Coaching

When you hear the office rumor that layoffs are coming, that 25% of the staff are going to be let go, and the rest will take a pay cut, your first instinct is to panic: "Oh no, how will I manage without a paycheck?" It's likely that your productivity will go down and your stress will go up. But here are some ways of countering the stress, even if you can't avoid the layoffs.

Go and confirm whether the rumor is true 'sometimes rumors are just rumors. Ask your boss, or the HR department, or someone well connected in the organization. And if you learn that the rumor is false, start countering it whenever you can. If the rumor is true, get as much information as you can about what will happen:

* When will the layoffs happen?
* How many staff will be laid off?
* Are any specific departments at risk?
* How will employees be chosen for layoff?
* Will there be a separation package?
* Will outplacement be offered?

Now go home and take stock of how well you're prepared for a layoff. Make a list of questions and answers like this:

* What effect would a layoff have on my family?
* How long could I live off of my emergency fund?
* Can I tap other sources of money, like home equity?
* Does my resume look attractive to another employer?
* Is there any training that I need to get to be more hireable?

Finally, use the answers to these questions to put together a plan, as detailed as you can make it, of exactly what you will do if you learn you'll be laid off. Your plan might include applying for unemployment assistance, or going back to school, or cutting back on expenses, or renegotiating debt payments 'whatever it will take to see you through to your new job. Share the plan with your family and get their input and agreement, and write it all down so that everyone understands the plan.

Nothing can make a layoff pleasant, but if you have as much information as you can, and have a plan for how you would handle it, your stress level will remain managable and you'll stay clear-headed during the transition.

About the Author
Bruce Taylor is the owner and principal of Unison Coaching, and helps people deal with difficult tasks and decisions in their lives. Bruce specializes in helping workers cope with difficult workplaces and stressful jobs. He can be reached at

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