Fallback-Position - Anyone Who Can Be Fired Needs a Fallback Position
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Have You Been Fired?  Laid off?  No?  You Will Be!

It's true. Things have changed. Do you know the 3 Keys to Taking Control in this wildly-changing job world? You should.

2.6 million were laid off the past three years, 600,000 in 2003. The most mass layoffs in history occurred in January 2004. Manufacturing jobs are down to 14 million today. As an example, Levis closed the last of its 63 plants in this country. So that most American of icons—Levis—are now only made offshore. Job growth is not keeping up with population growth.

Think you’re not at risk? Economists say that 75% of those who have jobs now are at risk of job loss because they work in the 5 industries undergoing what they call “creative deconstruction”--or down-sizing, outsourcing, and off-shoring. Those 5 industries are Airlines, Communications, Finance, Manufacturing of Electronics, and Technology. That’s a lot of the economy.

You Need the 3 Keys to Taking Control

It doesn’t matter if your CEO makes mistakes and flies your company into the ground, it doesn’t matter whether his bonus is tied to cost-cutting, so he sells your job to India, and it doesn’t matter if the cause of the problem is that your company’s chief competitor is Halliburton, things have changed in the job world and your job is at risk.

You need to be prepared. You need to know the 3 Keys to Taking Control.

1.  Take Control of Yourself to Take Care of Yourself

You’re going to have multiple careers, so you first need to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and you need to relate those to what you want to do, how hard you’re willing to work to get to do it, and are you willing to move to do it? And you need a game plan. Continuous life-long learning is necessary in today’s world. If you have specific interests, define those and work on learning those, strengthening your strengths and eliminating your weaknesses. Become a value-added employee where you are, so you’re the last one tossed off the lifeboat, but work on finding who you are and the job you really want for your next move.

Many people when laid off panic and run out and take the first job they can get.

  • Usually in the same field from which they were fired or laid off.
  • They don’t take a break and think about what they want.
  • They don’t strategize about how to get what they want.

That’s a mistake.

2.  Take Control of Your Finances.

Be prepared by building a layoff budget. Know what you’ll get for severance, if anything. The average is 1 week per year of service. But the rule of thumb for getting a job is it takes one month per $10,000 of salary desired. So if you’ve worked five years and make $50,000, they might pay you for 5 weeks but it will take 5 months to find a job. You need to fill that gap. Know how much unemployment will pay. Financial Planners advise to have 6 months salary in savings. That’s hard to do. But if you know your severance and unemployment, then the gap is something less than 6 months’ pay. You need to know what the company policy is. Same for health insurance. It can cost $8-10,000 for premiums on your own. Find out your company policy in advance. Don’t wait for the hammer to fall.

What if they offer less than what you need? Negotiate with them for more. You’re not being fired for bad performance, it wasn’t your fault the company was flown into the ground. You were loyal, you need them to be loyal to you. Guilt them. Guilt is a powerful negotiation tool. Don’t be afraid to ask. What are they going to do to you for asking? You’ve already got a pink slip.

Having a layoff budget puts you ahead of most of the workforce. Planners say only 30% of the people have a financial plan, and there aren’t 10% who have a layoff budget.

Knowing the financial approaches you’ll take will put you in the best position to survive and prosper in today’s crazy job world.

3.  Take Control of Your Career(s)

The worst case scenario is losing your job unexpectedly. You’re going to have from 3-5 careers. So plan for job change. If you have a contingency plan, it will make you feel good that you’ve protected your family financially and emotionally. Job loss, the psychologists say, is like a “little death.” You go through the same grief stages. Having a contingency plan helps you get through the stages quicker.

Get what you want in the next job. Chances are good you don’t want your last job again. (1) 50% of the people employed want another job; (2) You’re not the same person you were when you took the job, are you? You’ve changed. So why would you think you’d want that job again? (3) Take the time to figure out what’s right for you now.

Target the career that gives you what you want. Learn what you have to do to get that job. Learn where. Then do it. Plan negotiations, including severance, for your next job. It’s your friends who hire you, but that’s not who lets you go. Negotiate with your friends. Get your OUT package on the way IN.


John E. Arnold is the author of Anyone Who Can Be Fired Needs a FALLBACK POSITION, Preparing a Contingency Plan for the Worst Case Scenario. Buy it today and get prepared.

Order a copy of Arnold’s book and get access to one of the leading career advisors in the country. Arnold also offers private consultation and advice on specific situations. Contact him by email at John@JohnEArnold.com.

Having the Contingency Plan that is a Fallback Position will give you a good feeling that you’ve protected yourself and your family as well as you could in these wildly changing times in the job market.

Arnold is also available for consultation, coaching, negotiation tips, and personal advice. Email or call him and use his knowledge and experience.