Leaving the Job: You Just Got (or Will Get) Laid Off

Despite the best efforts of companies to keep down-sizings confidential, word spreads and many people know that they will either be laid off or may be laid off.  If that is the case you must first think of taking care of yourself and your family (see Negotiating a Severance), settling your finances for the time you are between jobs, and then begin to think about Finding a New Job.

If it appears that you will get laid off,  keep your head down and continue to produce — you may receive a pleasant surprise.

If you are laid off, then give yourself a chance to catch your breath and adjust to your new reality.  It is important to remember that you are not the first person this has happened to because it has become all too common in the business marketplace.  There are, nevertheless, things you need to ask about as soon as you know you are being let go.

Time spent, before you are laid off, will give you a head start on the process.  If you got laid off refer to Finding the Job-Conducting a Job Search When You Don’t Have a Job.  Among the things that you will want to do before you begin the job hunt is to get yourself in outstanding physical condition (under the direction of your doctor) and have an ideal job as the target of your search.

Defining an ideal job creates a sounding board against which you will be able to compare real jobs as they surface.  You may want to ask yourself the following questions about your life and career goals which will serve as a statement of your ideal job.

Career Questions

  • Do you love your current industry and job function or will you be looking for a change?
  • What title and function(s) would you like to have in your next job?
  • What is the range of compensation and benefits you would like to receive?
  • How important is it to you to work in one of the most prestigious companies in an industry?
  • How important is it to you to work in an industry known for its fast pace and long hours (including weekend work)?
  • How important is it to you to work for the department or area that drives the business?
  • How important is it to you to make a lot of money? (even if it is not much fun)?
  • How important is it to you to work with extremely smart people who will constantly challenge you?
  • How important is it for you to be comfortable with the products and/or services of the company who hires you (would it bother you to work in cigarette or alcohol sales, private detective work to recoup overdue lease payments)?
  • How important is it for you to work in an grade level position, with others at the same level, where you will be trained and grow at the standard rate as opposed to working for a smaller company with greater risk and greater, and faster, growth prospects?
  • How important is it for you to make a contribution relatively quickly and receive recognition for it?
  • How important is it for you to work for yourself?  Can you afford trying a high-risk/high-reward opportunity at this phase of your life?
  • How do you define the right life-work balance for you?

Life Questions

  • How do you see the work life/balance in terms of time on each?
  • Does your spouse work?
  • What are his or her career goals and timetable?
  • Is moving to a new location a possibility?  Is move desirable?  If yes, to what geographic area?
  • Do you have children?  If yes, what constraints do they add?

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