Job-Hunt’s FREE 15 Minute Guide: Layoff Self-Defense

6 Steps to Protect Yourself and Your Income

By Susan P. Joyce

Don’t Wait – Take Care of Yourself NOW:

If others have already been laid off, don’t wait for the golden handshake.

Take care of yourself NOW. Your loyalty to your employer – helping

them survive a tough economy – may not be rewarded, either by your

current employer or by future employers.

Your goal should be to find a new job before the old one evaporates.

Denial, as they say, is more than a river in Egypt, but do NOT expect

that being a great and loyal employee will protect your job. It may not.

5 Facts You Need to Know:

1. To find a new job, networking is the method that succeeds!

Networking connects 80% of people with their next job. Start

now, while you have a job!

2. Layoffs are not rational – who stays and who leaves is seldom

related to personal performance.

Those laid off were in the wrong place (department, division,

location, function, or “slot”) at the wrong time (expense cutting


3. You are more interesting to another employer when you have a

job. You are less interesting when you are unemployed.

Think about two toddlers (or two dogs or two cats) with two toys

don’t both usually want the same one? Same with employers!

Not rational, but real, nonetheless!

4. Your existing employer will not be happy to learn that you are

looking for a new job.

If your job search is discovered by your employer, you may be

fired. The fear is that you will take customers, important

information, and/or key staff members when you leave.

5. Once the layoffs start, the longer you stay, the greater your

credibility gap with potential new employers.

The “logic” is that the people who leave earliest are the best

performers with the most saleable skills while the ones who stay

until the end are the poor performers with few other options (or

they’d have left sooner).

6 Steps to Take BEFORE You Are Laid Off:

1. Establish non-employer contact channels.

Set up a Yahoo, MSN/Hotmail, or Gmail account for “private”

communications, and get your own personal cell phone, if you don’t

already have one.

Print personal business cards with your “private” contact

information on them. Include NO references to your current

employer, except (perhaps) your current job title. It is not

necessary to include your home address – use generic regional

descriptions like “Boston, MA area.” That lets potential

employers know where you live without disclosing your home

address. (Ex., Vistaprint.comFree business cards just pay shipping ex $4.68)

Remember that protecting your privacy is not only protecting you

from identity theft, it’s also protecting your family. And, an open

job search may get you fired, so it’s protecting your income

stream as well.

Hand out your personal business cards at networking events and

use your personal email account as contact information on your


Share the contact information with your co-workers and ask for

their’s. Explain that you may need it for personal use or “in case

anything happens to either of us,” but don’t disclose information

about your job search.

2. Increase your external networking.

Check in with your college, grad school, and even high school

career center to see what services they offer.

Often free or low cost assistance includes career counseling and

resume help. It usually includes an alumni/ae directory and help

networking with other alums.

Don’t limit yourself to the schools you graduated from – consider

the schools you attended for one semester or more.

Track down old colleagues using Google, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo,

Ziggs, etc. about it.

Attend appropriate professional or business organization

meetings and events, including college reunions.

If anyone asks why you’re getting more active, suggest that it’s

good for business (your employer’s business).

If you haven’t attended for a while, volunteer to help at the

check-in desk or hand out name tags or join the program

committee or whatever you can do (well!) that will give you a

good excuse to speak with people you don’t know (or don’t know

well), particularly if you are shy.

3. Update your resume (AT HOME – NOT ON YOUR EMPLOYER’S

COMPUTER!) and very carefully collect “recommenders” and written

recommendations. ( Ex.,Portofilo of Letters of Recommendations & Thank you letters).

Use your new contact methods on that new resume. Don’t

include your current employer’s contact information – use your

personal and private e-mail address and cell phone number.

Watch for e-mail messages commending you on doing a good

job. Print them and take them home to save. If a boss or coworker

leaves the employer, ask them for their personal contact

information so that you can collect (or exchange) written

recommendations and job leads, “just in case.”

Your employer may monitor your use of the Internet (visiting job

boards, etc.) and editing your resume on “company time” using a

“company asset.” Remember Fact # 4 – employers don’t like (or

trust) job seekers on staff.

4. Expand your online presence.

Register your name as a domain name, including your maiden

name if you are a woman using a married name. (< $10/year at

This is a good thing to own, whether or not you use it

immediately. And, in the future, this will be the basis of your

“personal brand” for other 21st century job hunting.

Set up a LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, and/or Ziggs profile.

Check to see if others working for the same employer have also

set up public profiles. Search on your employer’s and/or coworker’s

names. If other employees have public profiles,

particularly those more senior to you, you’re probably safe with a

public profile yourself.

LinkedIn is particularly good for collecting recommendations and

writing them for others. Be careful about selecting “Career

opportunities” in your contact preferences. Again, see what

others working for the same

employer have done, particularly those senior to you.

5. Consider what you might want to do “next,” where you might want to

work. Then, make a plan to get there, and start implementing it.

What are you interested in? What do you enjoy doing?

Take “interest” tests, read books like What Color Is Your

Parachute by Richard N. Bolles, and see if you can get help from

your college

Do you need more experience in a specific area?

If you can, volunteer for a task that will give you that experience

working for your current employer. If you can’t get that experience with your current employer, see if you can get it volunteering for a charity you support, with a relevant professional organization, or with a political candidate or

cause. Do you have an educational gap that you need to fill for that new


Take a class to fill, or to start filling, that gap. Thousands of

schools offer countless courses that you can take online from

home (and be prepared to pay for it yourself so you won’t have

any explaining to do in the beginning or reimbursement to do


Any companies you would like to target as potential employers?

Research potential employers! You don’t want to be the last

person hired before the layoffs begin at the new employer, so

check out the Website, Google the company and look past the

first page of Google search results because savvy companies

“bury” their “digital dirt” below a plethora of positive information.

Start working on your network to reach into those employers’

organizations. This is where that college career center,

LinkedIn, et al, can be very helpful.

6. Cut back your spending. Save money in case you are laid off before

you find that next job so you can keep paying your mortgage and utility


􀂾 If you have a mortgage, see if you can refinance to get a lower

interest rate and a lower monthly payment.

􀂾 If you own a home outright or have a mortgage and don’t have a

home equity line of credit, see about getting one, but don’t use it

until you have no other options to pay your bills.

􀂾 Check with your credit card companies, and ask if you qualify for

a lower interest rate, particularly if you can’t pay off the balances

in full every month.

This e-book is provided to help job seekers deal with the problems of

preparing for a layoff. Individual job seekers are welcome to share this

book with their friends and colleagues.

It may not be used for commercial benefit by anyone without written permission.

© Copyright 2008, NETability, Inc.


The contents of this e-book are protected by US and International

Copyright Laws.

This edition is dated August 20, 2008. If that is more than 6 months

ago for you, find the latest edition at


About the Author: Susan P. Joyce

Susan P. Joyce has been editor of since 1998 when her

company, NETability, Inc. purchased Susan has over 30

years of experience in the IT world (she’s a quasi-geek) plus several

years of experience working in the Personnel Office at Harvard

University and one year as an assistant project manager for salary

compensation survey consulting company.

Susan has been “laid off” twice – the first time by the U.S. Marine Corps

at the end of the Vietnam War and the second time in 1994 when her

employer, Digital Equipment Corporation, started the massive layoffs

that ended with the company (for several years # 2 in the computer

industry) disappearing.   

Layoff Self- Defense by Susan P. Joyce



􀂾 US News & World Report Top Site for Finding Work

􀂾 Forbes Best of the Web for Job Hunting

􀂾 PC Magazine Best of the Internet for Careers

Job-Hunt® is a registered trademark of NETability, Inc.

Job-Hunt’s FREE 15 Minute Guide: Layoff Self-Defense

© Copyright 2008, NETability, Inc.



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