The writing was on the wall for Barbara Persson, a quality assurance engineer with Motorola Inc in Portland, Oregon. She just read it the wrong way.
"I had survived eight rounds of layoffs, so I think I thought I was safe," she said. But it only meant the cuts hadn't reached her yet. When the day finally came, her boss's boss arrived and shut down the whole office. "A few people got offered a 'work from home' option, but my job was shipped to India." Today, Persson runs her own dog training business.
For Persson, there wasn't much she could do about her impending layoff. But that isn't always the case, according to John Challenger, chief executive officer of Chicago-headquartered global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
"It's true that when you watch your co-workers get pink-slipped one after the other, it takes a huge hit to your confidence and career security. [But] it does not necessarily mean you're next, especially if you can demonstrate to your company you understand their goals and are working hard to meet them."
Still, Challenger recommends getting your resume or CV in order, applying for jobs and lining up meetings with your network. He also suggests joining professional trade organizations or networking groups and calling former co-workers just to chat. "If you make it known you're looking, it's more likely someone will think of you when they hear of something," he said.