Job loss rarely comes at a total surprise. Usually, there are early signs like a merger or the announcement of a cost cutting program. Armed with this information, you can prepare for a potential lay-off.
Decide whether you actually want to keep your job
This is not a rhetorical question. You might be fully vested and sick of the commute. A fabulous severance package might be attractive. Or the opposite, you like or need the job.
Act based on your decision
If you want to keep your job, double your efforts at work, volunteer for more, and schmooze as much as possible. If you like to be on the list of those being laid-off, do work as usual and let people know that you are ready to leave; you might get your wish.
Try to keep you fear in check
It is just a probability that you might lose your job, not a certainty. Think about the many people who were better off after job loss. Don’t panic.
Get clarity on the activities you would pursue after job loss besides job search
Don’t focus on what you might lose, but on what you might gain – valuable time. Dream a bit, be it about spending quality time with your family or going on an “once-in-a-lifetime” vacation. Yes, you will have to look for a job eventually, but maybe you could take a month off for before.
Stay healthy and improve your health
Doing some exercise is always good, especially during times of stress and anxiety. If a lay-off might mean losing valuable health care benefits, now might be the time to take care of some unresolved health issues.
Simplify your life
Reduce the clutter in your life. Recycle papers, donate clothes to charity, sell unused electronics, and maybe downsize your housing situation. The more things you can deal with now, the less baggage you will have to carry with you after lay-off.
Get on top of your finances
Tally up your assets, debts, expected severance, unemployment and other income. Where do you stand now and in 12 months?
Understand the time line of your company
When will decisions be announced? Maybe you have a good connection to HR or to your manager and they can give you a hint.
You did everything you potentially could do. You are well prepared for whatever might happen.