You’re going to be laid off. There’s a damn good chance of that happening. Are you prepared to deal with it?

In my daily perusing of news and entertainment, I stumbled across this article about what one particular woman wished she knew before being laid off. While it’s a relatively interesting piece about one woman’s experience with being let go after a long tenure, I couldn’t help but feel like it lacked any true call to action for people that experience this. Having been a victim of this numerous times, it sparked my desire to crawl out of my blogging cave with the motivation to write a helpful piece so you can avoid the mistakes I made.

  1. Clean Up Your Social. You think HR and recruiting folks are just looking at your cover letter and resume these days? Fat chance. They’re social stalking you, and every post you’ve put out there is fair game. If your Facebook story says anything you’re sketchy about, make sure your privacy settings are where they need to be, and I’d keep the raunchy stuff off of other channels like Twitter or Instagram that are much more public domain. Yes, you have freedom of speech, but not freedom of consequences. It matters.
  2. Up Your LinkedIn Game. I’m still amazed at how many people don’t have their profiles fully fleshed out and up to date. Recruiters are always perusing LinkedIn for candidates, so regardless of how happy or content you are with your current role, keep your profile up to date. Post interesting things. Interact in groups that are relevant to your industry. And if you can afford the extra few bucks a month, go Pro for even more visibility.
  3. Have A Blog. This is the #1 thing I ever did in my career. By starting and contributing to a blog throughout my career, it gave potential employers a deeper window into my background, knowledge, and what makes me tick. You don’t have to be a great writer, just have something entertaining or useful to say. Everyone has something they are good at or knowledgeable of. Find out what’s yours, and easily sign up for a free blog at WordPress or Medium and get crackin.
  4. Always Be Looking. You’re not safe…period. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how smart you are, or how loved you think you may be. You’re a commodity, and commodities are expendable. It can be a financial decision. It can be new management coming in and they want their own people. There are a hundred reasons you can get laid off, and most of them you won’t see coming or think of. Always be looking. That doesn’t mean you’re going to leave, or you’re being disloyal. It means you’re being prepared so that when it does happen, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it. And what’s the worst thing that could happen otherwise? You find an even better opportunity?
  5. Diversify Your Income. This one is a bit trickier, but if you have a hobby, or a manageable side business, a great way to lesson the blow is to have some sort of income stream outside your normal job. This way when the hammer comes down, you have something to help bridge the gap. We live in a world where starting a business is easier than ever, especially with the tools available to you online.

Be prepared for the worst. Shit happens, and if you do any combination of the above, you’ll be much more prepared than I ever was to deal with it.