Five Tips for Managing and Preparing for Job Loss
As an employment lawyer, I have counselled many individuals through the process of job loss. Last year, I wrote a blog post, which served to clarify common myths about employment terminations. In this post, I share advice that I routinely give to employees who are dealing with job loss – both before and after the termination notices are handed out. So if the dark clouds of workforce reduction are hovering over your workplace, consider these five tips to help you weather the storm.
Tip #1 – Don’t Lose Focus
Though the thought of job loss is stressful, don’t panic or lose your focus. Focus on the things you can control: you can’t control what your employer will or will not do. But, you can control your performance and attitude while you are still employed. Therefore, focus on adding value, being an indispensable employee, and making a positive impact in your organization. It may just save your job and even if you are terminated, you will be leaving the organization on a positive note (which might help in obtaining job references).
Tip #2 – Do Collect your Personal Information
Most people use their work computers and mobile phones for personal purposes and have a number of personal contacts, photos and files on these devices. If your employment ends, you may not have an opportunity to gather these files, so it is good practice to retrieve them when you still have the chance (even if there is no threat of job loss). Remember that your work computer and phone are your employer’s property and your employer does not have a legal obligation to give you access to them when your job ends.
Also, take care to only copy and remove your personal files. Your work-related files are your employer’s property and removing these files could result in serious legal consequences.
Tip #3 – Stay Connected
The old adage “your network is your net worth” is very true, so stay connected. Meet up with friends and acquaintances and put yourself ‘out there’. Keep online profiles such as LinkedIn up-to-date with your skills, experiences and accomplishments and reach out to people who might augment and complement your professional network. These actions may unlock new prospects, which might lead to your next opportunity.
Tip #4 – Remain Calm
If the fateful day does arrive and you are summoned into a termination meeting, remember to stay calm. Listen to what is being said and reserve your comments until you have had a chance to gather your thoughts – less is always more in these situations.
Do not feel pressured to answer any questions or sign any documents during the termination meeting. Give yourself sufficient time to review and understand your termination letter before signing it. And it is always worthwhile to seek the assistance of an employment lawyer who can review your package and confirm whether the termination offer is reasonable in light of your legal entitlements.
Tip #5 – Stay Positive
Last but not least, though initially it may seem difficult, remember to stay positive. There is no shame in job loss: with a Canadian unemployment rate of 7%, job loss is very common. And in my experience (and those of my clients), what might seem like ‘set-back’ might very well be a ‘set-up’ for something great in future.
The threat of job loss and unemployment can be daunting, but by following these five tips and summoning your own inner fortitude, you’ll brave the storm and come out stronger in the end.