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How to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

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By Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

RISMEDIA, Oct. 25, 2008-(MCT)-Where I work, we recently had the latest in a series of layoffs that began last year. Management says our whole industry is having problems. My job is essential, and I can’t imagine having a heavier workload. However, someone with the same position was let go, so I know the ax could fall.

The problem is that I love my work, and I’m good at it. I don’t want to quit, but the constant talk of future staff cuts is discouraging. I have only a little money saved, so I’m getting scared.

I have found a few positions that match my qualifications. I haven’t applied because I like my job, but I wonder if I should leave before I get laid off.

A. At this point, you don’t have to decide whether to stay or go. But you do need to start preparing for an uncertain future. When layoffs are looming, too many people remain in denial until they’re handed a pink slip.

In addition to scanning the job boards, you should update your resume and start making networking contacts. Talk with your human resources manager about the likely future for your type of work.

Because this slowdown is industry-wide, expand your search to include other fields where your skills could add value. You don’t want to jump from one shaky company to another.

Remember that exploring opportunities does not commit you to change. Until you actually accept another position, you can always choose to stay where you are. But in the process, you may discover a safer job that appeals to you.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.”

© 2008, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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