Unless a layoff is inevitable, do not start looking for a new job when you enjoy your current one; a down market is the wrong time to change jobs. Contrary to what job-seekers often believe, employers frequently realize when someone is looking for another job. While in many markets this gut instinct or factual knowledge is un-actionable, in a down market it can be the one thing that brings your name to the top of the list for the next round of layoffs. Instead, take your time and energy building your network, not only will you be building a strong foundation of relationships, you might spare your job if a layoff is announced as you bring new projects and work into your company. So what should you NOT do when preparing for a layoff?
- Use work computers to search for a new job – A well known firm in the Baltimore area has a tracking system on their employee’s web-browsing. It was set-up to ensure that employees were not visiting inappropriate websites, but it has also been used prior to layoffs to see which employees were visiting Monster.com.
- Take 2 hours off for a “doctors” appointment – Most employers have learned to look for dress shoes and pants if you have been to the doctors’ office a couple of times lately but don’t seem sick.
- Get a job-seekers attitude – One of the most identifiable ways employers know when someone is looking for a job is through a change in attitude. Job seekers have a tendency to look short-term and begin to withdrawal emotionally from the office.
- Complain – Layoffs are hard on everyone, but they are especially hard on key decision makers. A great way to protect yourself being included in the next downsizing is to be apart of the group that is working to further the company and change things around. Try calling a client or potential client with the time that you would otherwise spend complaining to others at your company.
- Downplay accomplishments – You might not be winning as many new projects as you were two years ago, but be certain that you celebrate the successes that your company is having! It usually only takes one person who is willing to get excited about a success for others to want to become apart of the celebration.
- Stop Dreaming – The free market economy is an amazing economic system. What I have found interesting in my study of economics is that recessions are REQUIRED for a free market economy to thrive. Recessions force companies eliminate waste and focus on core competencies that allow the economy to grow past its previous heights after the recession is over. What this means is that a recession is the foundation to the next economic boom. So stop looking for another job and start positioning yourself for what you will accomplish during the next economic cycle.