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Dealing With Rumors of Layoffs
By Christine Alfonso

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Accounting scandals, plant closing, layoffs, stock market volatility, and bankruptcies are in the news every day. Some industries, especially in the high tech area, seem to be doing worse than others. Rumors abound about what companies are going to do to deal with the challenges that accompany an economic downturn. Here are some constructive ways to deal with the stress associated with the possibility that your job may be eliminated.

  • First, assess the risk. Recognize that uncertainty goes with every job, but if your company is profitable and your industry is stable, the risk of layoffs is probably fairly low. On the other hand, if your employer has a reputation for using layoffs to control labor costs when times are tough, you need to be more concerned.

  • Recognize there are no guarantees of employment, and start building a nest egg. Of course it is easier said than done, but imagine how much more secure you would feel with six months [or even three months] of your salary in the bank - just in case.

  • Gather as much information about the company's plans for you and for your position in the future. Ask your manager to be candid in his or her assessment of your performance, and to keep you informed about changes that may affect your position.

  • Try not to obsess about what might happen if there was a layoff, and if your position was selected for elimination, or if you were not given the option of a transfer to another position in the company, and if there was no severance, and if you could not find another job. Playing the what-if game is stress inducing, can be done endlessly, and without a fully operational crystal ball to foretell what will happen in the future is ultimately pointless.

  • Stay focused and stay motivated. If you lose either focus or motivation, your fears about losing your job may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Finally, keep your résumé up to date - just in case and remember to continue to network within the credit community.

Christine Alfonso is a credit manager with ten years experience in credit management. She is a frequent contributor to "Covering Credit". She can be reached at

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