Career challenges (Part II): Weathering the storm

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This is Part II of a three-part series we’re featuring this week in The Work Buzz.

Yesterday, we talked about what steps to take as precautions if you think your company may be leaning towards layoffs or downsizing.

Today, we discuss guidelines for weathering the eye of the storm – what to do DURING the actual restructuring process.


If your company announces major restructuring, layoffs, downsizing or an exit from the business, it’s going to be a challenging, emotional time for many workers. What should you do?  

Read the fine print. Companies that are implementing a reduction of staff may offer a severance package. Be sure to read any documents regarding this package thoroughly. 

Many workers will focus on salary, but you need to find out what’s happening to other benefits. Among the questions you may want to ask: 

  • When does the company stop paying for health insurance and life insurance premiums?
  • If my company provided life insurance coverage, is that policy still active once I’m no longer there?
  • How will the end of your job affect your 401K?  (In many cases you can roll your balance into another 401K, but in some cases, you may be required to take your balance as a distribution.)

Take advantage of ANY resources your soon-to-be-ex-employer is offering to you. That might include career-related help like training, job search assistance and career assessment. You may also be able to use employee assistance programs to get referrals to specialists who can help you if you need help with financial management or are dealing with emotional repercussions from losing your job. 

Stay positive. Some companies will implement their restructuring plans immediately, and your last day may come without notice. But for those who must return to the office and continue working, it’s important to keep a positive attitude. 

It can be an enormous challenge to stay positive, especially if you must train your successor, but remember that your company probably didn’t want to lose your expertise and know-how. You need to stay focused on concluding your time on good terms. It’s important for you and your resume; future employers will want to know you handled adversity skillfully and gracefully.

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