Uncertainty in the job market and news reports of companies laying off workers can make you wonder if you’re next to join the ranks of the unemployed. While you may not be able to prevent a layoff, there are several ways to prepare for that possibility while you’re still on the payroll.


Watch What You Say

Griping to co-workers about management or complaining to your boss about a recent assignment is not the way to keep your job during a downsizing. Maintain a good demeanor, be cooperative with colleagues to the extent possible, and keep a positive attitude.


Ask Yourself Whether You Really Want to Stay

It’s natural to want to hold onto something you think you might lose, regardless of whether you really want that something in the first place. A job is no exception. Be honest with yourself: do you really want to keep this job? Why? Would you be content with another job? If staying is important to you, then explore all the resources at your disposal to make that happen. Learn who the decision-makers are in the company and reach out to those colleagues and friends who may be able to help. On the other hand, if you can’t come up with good reasons to stay, this might be the right time to start looking for something better.


Get Involved

If you are not someone who usually signs up to help with the company holiday party or volunteers to serve on a committee, now’s the time. Explore opportunities of interest that let you put your skills and talents to work. Step up and take on tasks that other co-workers don’t want; this will demonstrate your commitment to the work and give you the opportunity to make a positive impression on the higher-ups.


Consider Other Opportunities

If your department has redundancy in positions, it may be more vulnerable to layoffs. Explore other job opportunities within the organization and learn more about that division or department. Enroll in employee training programs that are appropriate for where you want to be, and consider taking a course to update your skills or learn a new area of expertise. The goal is to become more marketable to this and other employers.


Think About Who You Know

Make a list of the people you know within the company. Who may be in a position to help you locate other opportunities within the organization? Who do you know that may have contacts in other organizations? Think about your personal network, from friends and neighbors to people in your community as well. Take steps to expand your network now.


Preparation is Key

Whether or not you lose your job may be out of your control. What is in your control is how prepared you are for that potential outcome. Make copies of any personal documents that are located at the workplace. Take a hard look at your budget and determine what expenses can be eliminated or reduced if it becomes necessary. Start saving as much as you can to build a reserve, which will provide a valuable financial cushion. Consult with a financial planner to discuss how to navigate a period of unemployment or a loss of income.