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How to Prepare for Potential Layoff

Suspect a layoff may be coming your way or did it happened already? Here are some tips to help deaf and hard of hearing employees best prepare for the worst.

It is a sad reality that one of the quickest ways for a company or organization to cut costs is to lay off some of their employees, even their most skilled and hard-working employees may face the same outcome. Many companies will try other cost-cutting strategies before laying off their employees, but not always. When it happens, it can be very stressful, especially when jobs for deaf and hard of hearing people are few and far between. The best way to reduce stress is to have a plan. If you suspect that a layoff is coming or you are already laid off, here are some helpful tips on how to best prepare.

1. Update Your Resume. As you become busy with work and life, it is easy to forget to update your resume regularly. It is always a good idea to be prepared for surprises and to keep your employment options open, even in a good economy. If you are laid off from your job, updating your resume should be the first thing you do. Even if you are not laid off from your job, keeping your eye open for new opportunities is crucial, and your stress is likely to be reduced, knowing you are prepared for a job loss that may come your way.

2. Update (or get on) Your LinkedIn Profile. Similar to your resume, LinkedIn and other social media platforms have become popular tools in how we both network with other people and look for work, so if you have never really been one to keep your profile active (or have never gotten around to getting one set up), you should sign up for a new account today. It is one of the best ways to show potential employers that you are social media savvy. It is also an excellent networking tool; plus, it can put you and your qualifications in front of recruiters or other employers who might contact you about the new job position.

3. Networking. You know that saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” which is often true when it comes to the job market. Like keeping your resume updated and keeping your online profiles current and squeaky clean, networking with contacts and peers is one of those things, you should be doing regardless of your employment status. If you have never been one to network, start now. Start by making a list of people, especially with your deaf and hard of hearing peers you know who could help with information about job leads or contacts who could introduce you to their supervisors or hiring managers. Connect with these people on social media and job forums or send them an e-mail and let them know you may consider other job opportunities. Ask a former co-worker or peer to meet for coffee or talk over the videophone. Keeping up with your network will allow you to have more options if you do end up laid off.

4. Set up a Budget. If you have never been one to set up a budget, now would be a good time to evaluate your current finances and prepare for a potential lay off or deal with the layoff. Do you have a solid savings plan? Do you get a severance package if the layoff happens? What would be an estimate of your unemployment benefits in your state, and how long would you receive them? Do you need to apply for Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI)? Put together a picture of what your finances would look like if you are laid off and use that information to prepare a realistic budget you can live on. This exercise will help to avoid panic and allow you to get a better sense of your financial future. This exercise can also help to take back some control of your situation without letting you feel powerless.

5. Don’t Panic and Don’t Give Up Hope. A recent study referenced in The Journal indicated that losing your job is the single most negative event a person can experience. There is no doubt that a layoff is going to cause you some undue hardship, both financially and emotionally. It’s important to do your best to keep your emotions under control and stay optimistic. Using the above tips will help you get some of your initial fear or shock under control and can also help establish a daily schedule that will keep you feeling positive and motivated. For example, use Mondays for networking, Tuesdays for searching job boards, etc. No matter how hard as it may seem, keep your spirits up and remember that your situation may be temporary. It also will help you to go through the tough days ahead and secure your next job.

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