Imagine that tomorrow – or your next day at work – you go into your workplace only to find a pink slip waiting for you. You’re done. Your employer heard some horrible rumor about you, or maybe your organization is downsizing, or maybe you made a big mistake recently and it’s caught up to you. Whatever it is, your job is no longer yours. You have 15 minutes to clean out your desk and half an hour at HR to sign some papers and then you’re out on the street.
What now? What do you do?
Way back in 2013 (was it that long ago?) I wrote about being laid off from the company where I worked for twelve years. I called my posts “Preparing for the Pink” as in a Pink Slip. This is the traditional American notice of termination of employment though the physical pice of paper is not often used any more.
Anyway, here is an updated version of the same idea. While very focused on people in the United States the general principles should be useful to workers everywhere even where the labor laws are much more liberal.
- Keep your resume updated all the time.
- Keep your training and education current, preferably using current workplace resources.
- Have a set of strong professional contacts in place; do favors and make sure those relationships are strong.
- Have a very healthy emergency fund.
- Know exactly what benefits you’re due if you were to lose your job and how to get those benefits.
- Have a list of people to contact immediately to start finding another job.
This whole article and my earlier ones are a great example of the Stoic idea of Negative Visualization, which the ending of the article sums this up spectacularly:
The key lesson is that thinking about life’s potential problems now and coming up with solutions in a rational and calm way, then taking steps to make those solutions easy to execute in a crisis, goes a long way toward making any and all crises in life much easier to handle.
The little steps you take now, handled with rational thought and just a little effort and a little money, can save you enormous headaches and a great deal of money down the road when an unfortunate event does occur. Preparing for a job loss is just one example of this powerful life strategy.
Trent Hamm’s articles in the Simple Dollar are great. If you’re not reading it on a regular basis, you should.