Have you ever had the threat of potential lay-off? The threat may be real or just office folklore, but there are things you can do to stack the deck in your favor.
I worked at a company where the management announced lay-offs may happen due to divestiture shopping. It was also possible the affected employees would have no change except for a different name on the paycheck. The management team’s repeated phrase was “Wait to see the other card before you make a decision”.
I took umbrage at this. So should you.
Their comment implies management controls the deck and your career. This is not true. As knowledge workers, we all control our career.
To deal with the threat of being laid off, I recommend the same steps Project Managers use to deal with risks. You can only choose one response to the threat and it will be based on your level of tolerance:
Avoidance – Don’t put up with it. Get your resume up-to-date, circulate it, and take the steps to leave your organization.
Mitigation – Reduce the impact of the threat and increase your value. I have seen valuable people get telecommuting or relocation offers within the new organization and they generally are the last people to be let go.
Acceptance– Wait it out and see what if there is an offer or a nice severance. Just remember to avoid a victim mentality.
I suggest reading Robert Scoble’s recent post What to do if you’re laid off in 2008 recession for some excellent advice. A lot of his tips can be utilized as a way to keep yourself portable.