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Thread: Lay-offs: Restructuring/cost savings at my job...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Lay-offs: Restructuring/cost savings at my job...

    Question:

    So my boss has had a series of meeting with the staff at my workplace. I work for a university in a research department.

    These meetings have been about restructuring. We all know what the usually means... Lay-offs! Couple this with the top dogs sending us emails about impending cost-saving strategies that they are brainstorming (without any real input from us) and I think jobs could be cut. I am low on the totem pole and the areas I research are also low-priority. I have only been at the job 11 months.

    But the timeline for the restructuring to go into effect is some time between September 2015 and January 2016. We'll have to apply and interview for our own jobs.

    Any suggestions on how to prepare? I obviously have been building up my emergency fund and I am fairly frugal (though I could improve on this in so many ways, I would guess).

    If anyone has been through something similar, any insights would be great. Thanks!

    -Jake

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    The usual I suppose, update the resume, start sending it out now is not a bad idea unless you are determined to ride that train to the end of the line. If all goes well you could have a new job before this one goes away! Though of course that is far from guaranteed. If we truly are headed for recession (I wouldn't know but there are bad signs) getting a job now would be better. Have interview clothes and the resume ready to go. There's a lot of unusual features of interviews these days, people want to Skype interviews etc. - but that may be so field specific as to not even be relevant for you. Phone availability at least is a must, and usually computer access as well, a cell a plus (you could scrape by with just landline access, it's probably not ideal).

    If it's a true layoff you'll probably qualify for unemployment. Don't count on it as they can stonewall and even then it may take awhile to kick in, but in a layoff the law should be on your side. So you could find what unemployment payments will be or not, either way it is what it is, but it would help in finding out what money you have to work with in a period of unemployment. If there's a severance there's that (I'd never worked anywhere with severance pay but it exists somewhere). You could find out what healthcare options are while unemployed, CORBA and ACA (I know many people go without health insurance while unemployed, and it's technically illegal unless you pay the penalty with the ACA, but it's none of my business). CORBA though they'll kick you out if you ever pay a bill late, so if you decide on that option be ultra responsible.

    Have a budget or at the very least an estimate of costs. That with understanding unemployment, how much it will pay, how long it will last etc. will tell how long you can last without a job (it might be comforting). Unemployment itself is often not enough to live on but supplemented with savings it might last awhile. Get the things you need to get done now, if you have a car get it serviced now while you might still easily afford the repair (wait does easily afford and car repairs really belong in the same sentence?). Go to the dentist. See a doctor. Get glasses if you need them or on a vision plan (of course if you never wear glasses or existing glasses are perfectly fine never mind - I'm not saying collect pairs of glasses for the heck of it ). Pay off the yearly car insurance bill if you are paying installments and can afford to. If you rent and want to move do it now, you may not have great luck getting a place with no income beyond unemployment to show. If you have a desk cleaning it out a bit now may not be a bad idea (but that can be too obvious - yea I know your going to lay me off so my desk is completely bare now! bring it on!). Emotionally prepare for unemployment? Phew, I don't know, practicing meditation or yoga or something I suppose helps. A network of people you know in the field that could provide job leads if you have one is good (maybe they can provide a job lead right now then!). Might also be able to tell you how the field is doing economically, if certain areas are worth pursuing, or whatever. Make your home comfortable, your going to be spending a lot of time there. They say looking for a work is full time work, but realistically I've seldom ever found there to be enough job leads at any given time to spend 8 hours a day on them even when unemployed. It's not very realistic IMO. Look for work but also enjoy your time off if unemployed (one may not want to be unemployed, but if it happens, it is one of the few breaks people have from work).
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    ApatheticNoMore:

    Some good advice there. Thanks.

    I think that your ideas about enjoying a break and being comforted by knowing how long I could squeak by on savings and/or unemployment checks are especially helpful. Part of the negative impact people feel when they lose their job is emotional and I would guess that slows down their progress in bouncing back into a new gig.

    Here are some particulars about my situation that are worth noting. I work for a public university that, while they do lay people off, also has a strange practice of reassigning people to different jobs to avoid laying them off. These reassignments are often to jobs with significantly lower pay. So I could escape a lay-off this way. And who knows, maybe they won't lay me off or reassign me at all.

    If I get laid off I will probably get on ObamaCare.

    I can really cut corners financially if I had to. As an experiment I lived on $1.50 of groceries a day for a week. I did this twice, once alone and once with a couple friends (we each had our own $1.50 a day). While I was a bit listless and hungry sometimes it actually wasn't that bad. I did not notice my happiness levels go down and I think with an additional 50 cents a day I'd not feel hungry or listless. haha

    Any more unconventional ideas and suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

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    had I known I would be leaving due to illness, during the months prior to my last day, I would've compared COBRA plans with the NYS marketplans much earlier and taken advantage of people whose job it is to help you find a comparable plan. COBRA is very expensive, I took it because it was a crisis and I needed by same docs, same hospitalization coverage and same drug plan. I couldn't go without these things at that time. And I would use your health plan and FSA now (you do get to keep your FSA, I believe, I was down to a HRA account and I got to keep that. Get everything you can think of, a physical, gyn, dentist, opthmalogist and any specialists you see.

    If it does happen, and I hope it doesn't, remember to get a copy of your summary of plan benefits, you will need this to compare COBRA to all other plans. Sometimes this is called a summary plan document.

    are you in a field that has head hunters, maybe make it known you are available?

    good luck!

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    and I would add, Update your online presence. If you're on LinkedIn or other sites that a potential employer would be looking at then you want to make sure everything is professional and current. Even a nice looking photo can make a difference.
    I'm sure you've heard this stuff before, so please take it as "free advice" and not lecturing ..

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I have almost no online presence. No Facebook or twitter or LinkedIn or any of that. Maybe I should do the LinkedIn thing...

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    Senior Member Kestra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraliteAngler View Post
    I have almost no online presence. No Facebook or twitter or LinkedIn or any of that. Maybe I should do the LinkedIn thing...
    Well at least no Facebook is better than an embarrassing FB. People put some crazy stuff on FB, and employers definitely check. You might as well do LinkedIn. I'm not sure how many people it helps but it can't hurt. It always suggests jobs for me that don't make any sense, and it has an annoying amount of pop-ups and reminder type things. But I haven't been really using it actively either.

    For other job stuff, is there any skill upgrading that your employer would pay for or you could do on the side? Try to make yourself more valuable. What things do other people know that you don't? In my last job if you had average Excel and Outlook skills and knew how to Google how to do things, you were ahead of 90% of the people.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Good suggestions. Is it bad for me to admit that, while I don't want to get laid off, there is a big part of me that feels kinda "meh" about it?

    My job is rather pointless and uninspiring in every way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UltraliteAngler View Post
    Good suggestions. Is it bad for me to admit that, while I don't want to get laid off, there is a big part of me that feels kinda "meh" about it?

    My job is rather pointless and uninspiring in every way.
    No, you can look at this as the push to find something that is a better fit.
    To have advance notice while still getting a check is great. Much easier to look for something great instead of feeling pressured to just find a new paycheck as quickly as you can.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    I feel like simple living and minimalism give me confidence sometimes that I don't have to worry as much as the average person about a lay-off. My overhead is low. I can live extremely cheaply.

    Am I lulling myself into a false sense of security?

    Of course, other times I think: "I need to have a job! I have mouths to feed -- mine and Harlan's!!" hahaha

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