How to cope with Downsizing

What if your Employer is downsizing? Is it the end of the World?

There is always a situation underneath your feet and a bigger picture when it comes to the economic status of a country or a business. I have been in conversations with many people since the revolution till the day I wrote this. Interestingly enough, as time lapses, more and more people seem to be against the revolution and not vice versa! This occurs because the owners of small and medium businesses are looking at the money they have lost and the new branches they were not able to operate given the current slow economy. Business owners and employees during the past 24 months have been negatively affected by the current state of Egypt’s economic affairs which has, in turn, negatively impacted jobs.

So, what if your employer is downsizing? Is it the end of the world? No, it is definitely not! It is all about perspective and how you choose to look at the situation. Here are some tips that can help you cope with the downsizing efforts of your organization until you know where you fit within the new structure:

Be sure that you either help the company to save money or make money. To be a valuable employee, you must be able to show that you make the company money or you save the company money. Write down examples of ways that you save or generate money for your company. Discuss these points with your supervisor.

Become very valuable to your company. Find the projects that are high priority within your company. Look for ways to become involved with these projects. Ask your manager to transfer you to one of the groups working on these critical assignments. You can even consider volunteering to take on extra duties that support these projects. You will be seen as someone who goes the extra mile.

Contact people in your job network. It is better to do this now as opposed to after you have been laid off God forbid! Attend workshops and conferences to stay educated in your industry and to make new contacts.

Stay educated. Attend classes and look for continuing education opportunities. Be sure that your supervisor is aware of the effort that you are making. You can even offer to facilitate an employee training based on what you have learned in your latest class or workshop.

Keep your resume updated. If you do happen to get laid off, you will need an updated resume. Focus on the contributions that you made to your last company and how you will be able to benefit your next employer

Now let’s assume that due to the changing conditions and unstable economy, your employer has decided to end your employment. Many companies usually give 1-3 months advance notice and your employer may request that you spend these remaining months at home while securing your paycheck during that time. I encourage you to use this time to look for jobs and generate leads. If you are committed to installments or have a loan that needs to be settled monthly, start thinking about alternatives. It is all about perspective and how you decide to look at the situation. It may indeed be devastating and life-changing, but you may also look at it as a new start.

Check out these 4 simple steps on how you can survive until you are able to secure a new job:

Get updated: update your online status immediately, on LinkedIn, twitter and possibly on Facebook too, if you have lots of professional contacts among your friends there. Tell your contacts that you are looking for work. It is advisable to consider identifying yourself with a title that reflects your desired position.

Assess the financial situation: Is your spouse still earning an income? Do you have an emergency fund? How much is in it and how long will it last? What you don’t want to do, if you can help it, is rely on credit cards, or even worse, credit card cash advances, many of which will charge you upwards of high percentages in interest beginning on the day of the withdrawal.

Look at your spending: please tell me that you have been keeping monthly and weekly track of the money you are spending whether you are a home owner or you still live with your family. This may not sound like a “cool” thing to do when things are going smoothly but you will definitely need this tracking if the going gets rough! Get a good sense of where your money is going. To do that, go over the last month or two of your bank statements, looking at how much you spend on fixed expenses like the mortgage, the car, and the utilities, and how much you spend on extras like restaurants and entertainment. Once you know where your money has been going, you can figure out where to cut back. The restaurants and entertainment, for instance, go. The coffee shop, the new clothes, and the spontaneous trips to the mall can go too.

Leave room for your feelings: Frustration. Anger. Sadness. Confusion. These are all valid feelings when it comes to being laid off. Don’t bury them, or they could come back to haunt you later. Instead, address them head-on. Write in a journal or talk to your spouse, friend, or counselor about how being laid off makes you feel. Getting these emotions off of your chest can help you feel ready to move on to the next important part of your journey: job-hunting.

Being laid off isn’t the end of the world, though it can feel like it. Remember that a company’s decision to lay people off is never personal, and sometimes the opportunity to return to your old position may surface once the company reconciles its issues. Until that time, make sure you’re focusing on what you need professionally and personally.


Regina Inani, PHR Talent Management and Acquisition Specialist.

Twitter: @GinaInani

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