5 tips to survive layoff season

In honor of Labor Day marking the unofficial end of the summer season, I’d like to give some tips as we approach our next season—layoff season.A photo of office man with helmet on

I know, I know. I realize the sad irony here. Labor Day was originally “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Yet, in what has recently become an annual rite of passage, this is also when executives go behind closed doors to decide which of these workers to erase from their expenses spreadsheet.

Marketing departments tend to be an easy target. Alas, fellow marketers, we have been through this before. So, I’ve gathered some tips to help you get through the next few months.

1.  Update your resume. This should go unsaid. But I’m stating it anyway because many workers still do not pay attention to this. Every time you accomplish something major or demonstrate a new skill, add it to your resume. At the very least, update your resume at least twice a year.

Not only does this prepare you to look for a job immediately after layoff, but it also keeps you ready to move up internally.

2. Share your ideas. Every day employees come up with fantastic ideas on how to improve products, save the company money, serve customers better, increase efficiency in their department, and more. The problem? Very few employees share these ideas.

Now is the time. Write up a proposal and show your boss. If it really is a great idea, guess whose name is less likely to come up at layoff time? And, if you have a history of great ideas, that would help even more.

Even if this doesn’t save you, it just might give you an edge over the competition when you’re interviewing for a new job.

3. Work hard. No, I’m not telling you to work hard to save your job. The truth is that layoffs often have more to do with numbers and politics than they do about actual job performance. So why work hard? For your own sake.

Employees who are depressed or upset about layoffs often slack off. “I’m just going to get laid off, why should I care?” I get it, but it’s the wrong approach.

Working hard is more about keeping your own integrity intact. When you do better, you feel better, and this time of year it’s all about taking care of you, which brings us to number 4.

4. Take care of yourself. Layoffs are stressful—both before and after they happen. Work hard , but don’t work so hard you have no time left for yourself. Make sure you eat right and exercise. Rest, give yourself breaks and do things you enjoy.

5. Let go of what you cannot control. Worrying about whether your name will be called when layoffs come will not do any good. Worrying can’t stop you from being laid off, but it can do serious damage to your health and the relationships with people you love.

Protect yourself. Protect your health. And keep on living your life. Focus on what you can control. These 5 steps are a good start.

Good luck, and feel free to add more tips that work for you.


Some “feel good” places to go on the web: Zen Habits gives all sorts of great advice. Here’s 100 ideas to make your life better. And check out these sites for info on women’s health and men’s health.


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