10 questions to ask yourself when layoffs might be coming


When news begins to circulate around the company that layoffs, downsizing, “downsizing” and financial trouble may be brewing, many employees feel it is in their best interests to seek immediate work elsewhere. But is this always the best strategy?

Although you may have considered leaving the military during your time in uniform when you heard of troop withdrawals or other downsizing, your loyalty to your military career may have caused you to stay put. and overcome the circumstances.

In these tumultuous economic times, headlines often highlight companies taking more conservative stances. Some companies are restructuring their teams and departments to create more streamlined efficiencies, while others are enforcing hiring freezes until economic uncertainties are resolved. And still other companies are canceling job openings as they tighten their belts and prepare for a possible economic downturn.

All of this can lead you to consider your own professional viability. Before you jump ship, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you assess your employer’s situation based on emotions or facts?

Has the company released an official statement about the layoffs, or are the changes you’re planning coming from gossip? Before you can decide what to do next, be clear about what is happening now.

2. Is your CV updated and current?

Regardless of what happens next, update your resume to make sure you can either defend your current job (if applicable) or find a new job if you need to move on.

3. Are you being asked to take on new or different responsibilities?

The company could rationalize its workforce to keep essential employees. In times of uncertainty or restructuring, you may be asked to take on a heavier workload or work in new areas. It could indicate the company’s strong desire to keep you.

4. Are the opportunities in other companies more stable?

If you see your company’s competitors hiring and growing, the instability may have less to do with national economic trends and more with business processes. In this case, talking to another employer could secure you a good opportunity before your job is cut.

5. Is it time to watch now?

This could be the case if you are determined to make a change or if you receive an indication that your position will be eliminated. …Or will taking time give you more clarity and direction?

6. Do the business challenges your company faces indicate an industry trend?

For example, during the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, employees in the hospitality industry were closed as businesses were closed (temporarily or permanently). Ask yourself if you should consider another industry where your skills would be valued, even as a short-term solution.

7. Have you discussed your options with your mentor or advisors?

If you don’t have a lot of civilian work experience, getting advice from others can help you assess your situation and plan accordingly.

8. Have you considered asking to be reassigned to another team or department within the company?

Maybe the projects your team is working on are stalled, but other departments are thriving. Before leaving this employer, consider a lateral move within the same organization to maintain resume continuity for the time being.

9. Is it a good time to go back to school?

Maybe you started this job right after the army, and this uncertainty showed you that you would be happier in another career path. Evaluate your options to take the time to earn your undergraduate or graduate degree, or advanced certifications and skills to strengthen your career options.

10. Is the stress of uncertainty clouding your outlook?

Not knowing if your position will be eliminated can be overwhelming and frightening. Your income, benefits, and situation may seem unstable right now. Despite all the choices you will have to make and prepare for, take the time to breathe, exercise, eat well, and practice moderation in your indulgences. You’ll need to have a clear mind to think through your options and make the best choices for you and your family right now.

When you can keep a clear view of where you are and what lies ahead (to the best of your ability), you can make informed and meaningful decisions. Leaving your current employer may be the best option, but think about all the choices before making that choice.

The author of “Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty” (2020) and “Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition” (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker and instructor of several courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputational risk management.

A contributing writer for Military.com, Lida is an avid supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and help employers looking to hire military talent. She regularly speaks at conferences, corporate meetings and events focused on military transition.

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