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How to Deal with the Signs of Layoffs

How to Deal with the Signs of Layoffs

CC courtesy of Oliver Biederbeck

Melissa C. Martin | CAREEREALISM

April 07, 2010

Layoffs hit our psychological jugular (I just created the term in this context). Emotions run awry. Relationships are transformed. Former professional/work alliances become beleaguered, UNLESS we make strategic measures to overcome these realities. Speaking from experience in the past of one who has worked in various industries (radio broadcasting, education, sales and marketing and career/employment services).

To quote J.T. O’Donnell, the founder of CAREEREALISM, North Americans have one unique commonality that separates them from the rest of the Western workforce.

In casual and professional situations, North Americans are quick to tie job titles with one’s identity. Imagine yourself in a social situation, laid off, and you are asked, “So what do you do, Jane?” Words may behoove you, unless you have crafted a good branding statement or “elevator pitch” as we say in the employment field. (Outstanding resources are on this site to help you with this necessity of job searching).

But let’s get to the root of the matter. I will be satisfied if at least ONE person can benefit from the tell tale signs of a layoff. Haunting as the signs may be, they are in no specific order:

1. Workplace behavior has changed toward you.

This upsetting experience can be defined as simply as management giving you short shrift, criticism, lack of recognition, and decreased responsibilities. Be mindful of when these situations unfold around you. Management is paying attention. Or to harken back to George Orwell, “Big Brother is watching you.” (Was it no co-incidence over 100 of his predictions in the book 1984 came true?)

2. Your performance evaluation ratings have slipped and your supervisor is specific about what you are doing “wrong” rather than what you are doing “right” for the company or organization.

While ratings like statistics can be manipulated, pay attention to the language of the performance evaluations, specifically direct quotations. Weigh your last performance evaluation ratings against the previous year. It is astonishing how many clients I have had whose employers did not provide regular performance evaluations!

3. Your workplace environment has been drastically altered.

Has your office been modified? Has your private office been down scaled to a cubicle or outside location, in contrast to your other co-workers? Did you have to wait for a long period of time to get a private office, especially if you deal with and receive sensitive or confidential information in the course of your work?

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