Monday, April 23, 2007


Guidelines For The Laid-Off

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says mass layoffs - defined as "the elimination of 50 or more jobs in one move" - are increasing. The number of people filing for unemployment in the wake of mass layoffs went up 14 percent in February. The brutal rat-a-tat-tat of Bushonomic life-destruction continues apace, as ever.

Here are a few guidelines about what you should do when the ax falls.

1) Ask for severance pay - but don't expect it. Only a third of American corporations, in a survey of about one thousand firms conducted in 2005, offer severance pay. The general level of such, ahem, "exit compensation" is about a week's pay for each year of service. CEOs, no matter how spankingly new or stunningly inept, get golden parachutes. You're lucky if you get a wet hankie.

2) Apply for unemployment benefits. Temp workers and contractors, this means you too if you work on a W2. Always inquire to see if you are eligible.

3) "Pare back discretionary spending" - i.e., give up shopping for sport and forego that Starbucks mochaccino if you can. Don't cut back on necessities. Not yet at least. Come to think of it, unemployment may give you time to figure out just what your necessities are.

4) Take a few days off. This seems like redundant advice to me, as you have already taken a few days off if you just got laid off. Few of us find a new job that quickly after all.

5) Spruce up the resume. You will at least be adding an end date to your latest assignment.

6) Extend your tentacles to your contacts and start squeezing leads out of them.

"A working strategy for the laid-off" from The Sante Fe New Mexican

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