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The uncertainty of potentially losing your job is very stressful, but these five tips can help you land on your feet.

Leila Noelliste, the founder of Black Girl Long Hair, was laid off from her job. She went on to turn her blog into one of the most popular natural hair sites. Photo credit: Elizabeth Sattelberger.

The average person dedicates 40 hours or more to working for the same company each week. But what happens when that company  starts downsizing? First step: Don’t panic. Second step: Make a plan and decide what you should do next.

Gather more information

Gossiping Gina from the watercooler was right about the company letting some people go, but did she give any exact details as to who they were? Different departments sometimes work with different budgets, so just because the marketing department is cutting back doesn’t mean the operations department is. Find out more information about the downsizing by talking to your supervisor or HR department before you stress yourself out. 

Talk to your manager

This may not be an option for some people, but if you have a manager who is easy to talk to, use this time as an opportunity to ask where you stand within the company. If your manager is withdrawn, “too busy” to talk, or just cannot be bothered to help diminish your fears, this may be a sign that you should be  looking for other opportunities.

Polish up your résumé

If your company doesn’t offer a severance package or if you don’t have a significant amount of savings, it’s best to begin a job search before you possibly get the boot. Even though job-hunting can be a full-time job itself, putting in those extra hours can be what ensures your financial security. Use this as an opportunity to assess your skills.

Don’t burn your bridges

It’s easy to be upset if you do get let go, so try your hardest to remain professional throughout the ordeal—if the  company’s finances ever get out of the red, they may ask you to come back. No matter your plans for the future, continue to work hard and ask your supervisor for a letter of recommendation.

Take time for self-reflection

Did you hate your job anyway? Maybe a downsizing is the motivation you need to finally switch careers or . Before taking another job out of desperation, ask yourself what it is you’ve always wanted to do and do it.

Even though the possibility of losing a job you’ve dedicated years to can be depressing, it doesn’t have to be. Always remember to reach out to someone if you feel overwhelmed and continue to network—you never know who can hold the key to a better position.

Have you ever been let go during a company downsizing? Have you survived one? How did you get through it?

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Ev Petgrave is a poet and writer. Being a mom, minority, and techie, she enjoys writing about social issues affecting these groups.


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