How to deal with downsizing

The modern economy is driven by short cycles and rapid strategy changes. Enterprises can no longer carry the burden of inefficiencies, high cost, or negative outlook beyond the shortest possible time period. The reality of downsizing in such a setting is something that all employees need to learn to live with. Here are some essential pointers that will help you deal with downsizing.

Consolidate your lifestyle

Work towards building up sufficient savings for such an eventuality. This has to be in addition to your retirement planning and your investment portfolio. Try and put away the equivalent of at least six to eight months of your present earning in an emergency fund. This will let you meet your expenses without any compromise during the transition period. Do not depend on your severance pay or retirement savings to see you through this time. If you are in a recessive economy and the likelihood of finding another equally attractive opening is low, you may also want to review your lifestyle. Consider trimming your budget down to the essentials, and choose your luxuries with a good deal of thought. While this period of constraint may only be temporary, there is great wisdom in living a live that is based on the principles of sufficiency and contentment. In addition, your attempts to live a need-based life will inspire others to adopt simpler and more meaningful lives.

Know your contract

Make sure you are familiar with the terms of your contract. Be aware of the severance terms and obligations both you and your employer are committed to. Ensure that you do not violate any exclusion clauses that might be built into your contract, since that may result in other aspects of the contract being considered canceled. Also be aware of the definitions used in your contract. It is important that you and your employer agree on what is acceptable behavior upon termination of the contract for all its terms to be honored.

Be graceful

Being told that you are no longer required can come as a rude shock. The natural response might be one of hostility, self pity or even passive aggression. Once you come to know that you are being asked to go, do so with the utmost grace and pleasantness that you can muster. Leave the premises unobtrusively and without any outward expression of what you may be feeling inside. This will help strengthen your professional image and stand you in good stead in the future. It is not easy to face and process such a development, and it is only natural that you will go through a period of despondency and loss of confidence. What is important, however, is to find your balance and regain control over your life. Life has to go on, and if you and your loved ones have depended on the job for your sustenance, you will have to get out there and find another one at the earliest. The longer you take to recover from the shock of being downsized, the more likely you will be to lose out on opportunities.

Stay in control of the situation

At all times, keep abreast of industry developments, both at the people level and the process level so that you can meet any opportunity that arises. Keep your skills up to date, and have an updated resume at hand at all times. Keep your online professional presence updated with your evolving skills and responsibilities. Stay in touch with thought leaders and influencers in your industry. If it is possible, ask the person who communicates the decision to downsize what the reasons were for your being on the list. It is possible that it has nothing to do with your performance or integrity. However, it is also possible that certain aspects of your performance made you a more likely candidate to be downsized than others. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and to improve your professional standing.

Listen to the message

Sometimes, such an event is the universe’s way of inviting us to explore roads and avenues that we may not have explored otherwise. Use this opportunity to see whether there is something else that you would rather do with your life and with your time. It is very possible that this event which might look like a catastrophe is actually a blessing in disguise. It is also important to look after yourself. A common reaction to downsizing is to feel depressed and start neglecting your personal welfare. While for some it might be in the form of taking refuge in drink or drug, for others, it may just be a great reluctance to get up and indulge in any act of self care. It is important that you keep a sharp eye on your health, physical, mental and emotional, during this time. Only if you are in good shape will you be able to take on the new responsibilities and opportunities that lie ahead of you.

A last word. It may take you a while to find an opening that is suitable for you. You may have to deal with rejections as you go about trying to find a new job. Remember that nothing of importance can be achieved in a short time, and that the right opportunity is seeking you as urgently as you are seeking it. Keep your faith in yourself and in the universe that the right solution will emerge in response to your efforts and intent.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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