From the good old days at Nortel, when I lived through about 17 separate layoff scares. Number 18 got me, the advice is still solid though
That was a comment I got from a former co-worker that I had a chance to meet with last night. Having worked in the world of High Tech for too long you learn to deal with folks who make those kind of comments to you. It is still unnerves you knowing how tenuous your career is sometimes.
For most of us (I won’t say all because there seem to be some folks who are unfazed by this kind of comment) after a moment like that, we would then go home and wonder, “What would happen if I got laid off?”. Luckily for me, I have my growing Financial Blogging business. Aside from that what would I do?
Are you ready?
This is an area which you can ignore and hope you will be OK but it might be better to at least outline somewhere what exactly you would do. Here are some of the points that I have on my list (not all of them financial):
- Call a lawyer to look at any severance package I was given. This makes a big assumption that my company has not simply folded up the tents and disappeared leaving no forwarding address. Also, I have not been fired for just cause and thus given no severance either. You don’t have to do this, but it’s never a bad thing to get legal advice.
- Go home and go straight to the Denial phase of coping. I find denial is a lot of fun because you delude yourself into believing you’ll be fine.
- Take a complete inventory of my spending habits. No money will be coming in for a while, better figure out how to make it go out of the house at a much slower velocity.
- Make a budget from the assets I currently have. Remember, also, whatever income I might receive while I am out of work. If you are going to get a severance package, how long can you stretch it? If you are receiving Unemployment Benefits, how long will they last?
- Having a budget already would make this one a lot easier to do.
- Find the resume that I have kept up to date, activate my contacts network and get the darn resume out there, and start looking for a job.
- The corollary here is that your resume must be up to date all of the time (within a month or so). If your resume is over a year old, re-write it right now.
- Figure out if my skill set might need to be polished up and see if there are training programs (low-cost ones) that I might avail myself of.
- Ideally you should be doing that at work right now. If your company offers training that will help expand your skill set, why aren’t you using it?
- Drink a great deal for a day or so. Self pity should be embraced for a short period of time, but after that, time to look for a job.
Sometimes paranoia is your friend in these situations as well.
Nortel related articles
- On Being Laid Off (a 10 year retrospective) what had I learned the 10 years after getting laid off.
- A Year Ago, written a year after that day I was laid off luckily I was waiting to start a new job
- Sometimes it’s better to be lucky a retrospective about how lucky I was to get laid off when I did. Read on to find out why.
- Pensions and Severance an important topic I took from my layoff from Nortel.
- Twenty Years in One Line is what my severance letter did. My 20 years are summed up in a sentence.
- Financial Issues With Severance what do you do with your severance if you have options? If you get severance as well.
- On Being Laid Off my explanation of being laid off from Nortel, a day or two afterwards.
- Nortel Still Paying Out? Really, well not that much.
you know, that is sooooo smart – to write out, while you’re (relatively) calm, cool, collected, what you’ll be working with should any axes fall on pf blogger’s necks 😉
I was at a funeral today, and was thinking I need to write out what I want my funeral to be like, but what you’re talking about is even more immediate (unless a Big Axe is Going to Really Fall on my own neck). Seriously: smart.
Medical/dental benefits – if they are continued (sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t) re-order the longest supply of on-going prescriptions yo ucan and schedule a dental appointment for as soon as practical.
On the topic of medical benefits — most plans will claim “we’ll guarantee to continue your coverage after separation”. Nice words, but from my experience, it isn’t necessarily so. They don’t cover pre-existing conditions. The plans are costly and severely limited in benefits paid. In my case I was going to pay something like $800 per year to get $600 max of prescription coverage. I would also be quite limited on “major medical” type expenses. Most o fus only use the prescription benefits.
Ontario’s Trillium program (other provinces have similar programs) cover prescription over a deductible based on earnings. There would be a lag, but you’d get significant coverage.
This is definitely something that can happen without warning. Dell in Edmonton announced recently that it’s closing up shop entirely, leaving about 900 techies suddenly out of work.
It’s one thing to be unemployed. It’s quite another to be unemployed and competing for jobs with nearly a thousand other people with similar skillsets.