The fear of a layoff hits everyone in the pit of their stomach. The reasons layoffs hit everyone so hard are that it creates and amplifies the fear of the unknown.  A career and a career path are supposed to be predictable and offer some degree of certainty.  The presence and the threat of a layoff highlight the unpredictability of all career paths in today's economy that all workers have to deal with in their careers.


Despite the threat of a layoff, there are concrete and vital steps that every worker can take to ensure they are as prepared as possible in the event of a layoff.


Continue To Be a Productive & Engaged Employee. There is a natural tendency when rumors of a layoff sweep through an office to become disengaged and angry.  Be very aware of this possibility and do not fall victim to it.  This is a time for leadership and leadership by example.  You want to ensure that you remain a model and productive employee in case the rumor of a layoff is just that, a rumor.


Get Your Resume & Contacts In Order, At Home. The threat of a layoff is the ideal time to get your personal resume and contacts in order.  However, this is an activity that should be done at your house and not in the office over the priority of work tasks.  Your resume should list specific accomplishments that you have created, led, and completed.  Your contacts should be individuals in the same city and state that either have jobs or can directly connect you to jobs. 


Stay Positive & Professional On Social Media. Social Media is an easy fall back for complaints, asking for advice, and passing on rumors.  Complaining, passing on rumors, and tasteless remarks against your employer are all examples of activities that you should not do.  Remember, Social Media is a mirror and you should remain professional and positive.  If you have nothing positive to say, then say nothing.


Get Your Personal Finances In Order. Personal financial risk is one of the major downsides of a layoff.  Knowing that a layoff may be coming, even if a layoff never happens, is a good way to get your personal financial house in order.  Reducing existing debt, postponing financial decisions that may create more debt, and finding part time jobs to create more savings are all very positive financial steps to take.  Your primary personal financial goal during the threat of a layoff is to create more savings to help in the event of an emergency.


Exercise, Good Diet, and No Drinking. Falling off the exercise and good diet wagon, eating an unhealthy diet, and too much alcohol are very easy mistakes to make when a potential layoff may loom.  Continue to exercise, eat well, and do not over indulge.  Exercise and diet are some of your best defense against stress and exercise will ensure that you are ready to interview for a new position if need be.


Maintain a Positive Outlook & Perspective. Again, staying busy, preparing, and staying positive in the event of a layoff all help prepare you to make a negative experience a positive.  A positive outlook also helps you maintain a perspective on what is truly important: family, friends, spouse, and children.  There will be better days ahead.


Preparing for a potential lay off is an unnerving professional event. Continue to be a good employee, update your resume, get your personal finances in order, and start to network with key decision makers.  A layoff may not happen, but if it does, be more than ready.


What Are Some Of Your Tips To Help Others Prepare for a Lay Off? Give your tips to make it easier for other members.


Additional Resources:

Post Lay Off Checklist
How To Manage Money When You Lose Your Job

Four Key Resume Tips 

Survey Says: What Are Your Networking Tips for Military-to-Civilian Career Transition?


Blogger Biography: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published 200 articles in 100 publications on career, business, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.  Follow Chad @CombatToCorp and