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When to start a job search if a lay-off is coming

Q: I am quite sure that my company will be laying off a group of employees this summer. Our company is not doing well financially. I expect to receive some type of financial package when and if they terminate me. I do expect to be laid off because I am in a marketing role which could easily absorbed by another person. I also have earned the reputation as a complainer because I voice my opinion. I don't think I am a complainer but several others have labeled me as a complainer. I think they are just weak and won't raise concerns. Should I wait for the financial package or start looking for a job now?

A: Let me share a few thoughts before I answer your question. First, being perceived as a "complainer" is almost never a sought-after characteristic. While most of us could find flaws within our jobs, co-workers, workplaces or companies, raising concerns in a positive and productive way is definitely preferred (vs. complaining and offering no suggested alternatives). Shedding this perception might be a beneficial step for your career.

When an employee is terminated or laid off from a company, a severance package is rarely required. Unless you have a written commitment (most likely within an employment agreement), I would not assume that you will automatically receive a severance package. Some companies offer severance packages to exiting employees but I would not rely upon receiving one.

I think it would be wise to begin searching for a new role now. Update your resume. Begin more actively connecting with others in your field and geographic area. Attend any workshops, seminars or webinars that could help build your knowledge (and contacts) within marketing. If you begin the early stages of your search now, you will be further along if you are laid off this summer.

If you attended college, become more active in alumni activities, particularly those with networking opportunities. Become more active on social media, especially Linkedin. Make sure that your Linkedin profile includes a photo and is complete.

Lastly, when you start your next job, think about the "complainer" perception that developed in your last company. When you raise a concern, do it in a thoughtful and positive way. Offer solutions that might work, rather than just focusing on the concern alone. Employees who are able to identify concerns and solve problems are almost always valuable to any type of organization.

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