Volunteer to be the first person laid off

The best people have the hardest time finding jobs when they are laid off. It is a fact. It is not for the reason you are thinking.

This is my experience.

I was the only person out of 300 that knew for sure that layoffs were coming.  I had a mole in the headquarters in Dallas.  I asked my boss, Mike, when the layoffs were going to start.  He said, “There won’t be any layoffs.” Then, he checked with Dallas and was told there would not be any layoffs.

He was wrong, and I knew it.  My source sat 50 feet from the division president who was laying plans.

So I told Mike, “If there are layoffs, I want to be in the first group you let go.”

Mike assured me that it wouldn’t be necessary.  There would be no layoffs.

I started looking for a job and started a small recruiting company.  A week before the layoffs were announced I gave my 2 weeks notice.  My company, AGI, had its first contract.  Mike acknowledged that my timing was perfect.  The only thing that could have gone better was waiting a week so I got severance pay.  The new job security was a lot better than any severance pay.

Everyone who was laid off in the first group got a job immediately.  Everyone. And they were the problem children that managers wanted to get rid of.

There were more layoffs.  The people laid off 6  months later didn’t find as many open jobs as the first group.  Those laid off a few months after that were unemployed for a lot longer.

The funny thing is that the best employees were laid off last.  But they couldn’t find jobs.  Why?

By the time they were laid off, there was a serious business malaise.  All the local companies had staffed their urgent projects.  Now everyone was afraid to hire more people.  So the best people had the hardest time finding jobs.

Isn’t it strange that the best workers, the most loyal staff, the absolutely essential people all had a hard time finding jobs? The reason is that they were let go at the absolute worst possible time.  Every job was filled months before. They were hurt the most by their own loyalty.

Are you concerned about layoffs?  Even if you are planning to stay, start setting yourself up for a job. Start setting yourself up for a promotion. Work harder than ever.  Take over new tasks.  Figure out how to make the company more money. Write a resume and hand it to your boss.  Ask for a promotion or an award for doing so well.  Don’t worry about a raise. Worry about getting recognized for exceptional performance where you are.  Then figure out if you really should look for a new job.

And consider asking to be the first person laid off.

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