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The Layoff Survivor's Action Plan

March 2009 (SmartPros) Layoffs don't just impact the people who've been let go; those who've kept their jobs are also affected. If the recession has forced your company to eliminate positions, you're likely shouldering more work and worrying that you'll be the next one to receive a pink slip.

Here are strategies that layoff survivors can use to turn their anxiety into action:


Go with the flow. Now more than ever, it’s important to showcase your adaptability. Like many organizations, your firm may be re-evaluating certain long-standing priorities and procedures. As a result, managers need open-minded accounting professionals who’ll embrace change instead of resisting it. If you’re asked to take on special projects or day-to-day duties falling outside the scope of your job description, for example, show that you can roll with the punches by adjusting quickly.


Look for the silver lining. With every challenge comes opportunity — even in today’s difficult economic environment. Layoff survivors are frequently asked to tackle extra work, but this isn’t necessarily bad news. Learning new skills and expanding your responsibilities will enhance your job security, while allowing you to beef up your resume and increase your marketability. Moreover, if you perform well, you could position yourself for advancement when business conditions inevitably improve.


Keep your focus. Water-cooler chatter thrives in uncertain times. You may be hearing nervous whispers of pay cuts, mergers or more layoffs. Do your best not to get wrapped up in the latest rumor floating around the office. While you don’t want to bury your head in the sand, you can’t afford to let your work quality suffer because you’re obsessing about every “what if” scenario. In short, don’t feed the grapevine and try to remain above the fray.

Finally, it’s wise to prepare for any eventuality. Update your resume and increase your networking efforts so that you can launch an immediate job search if need be.

For more advice on management and career issues, listen to The Management Minute, Robert Half’s podcast series at

Accountemps is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices nationwide and offers online job search services at

2009 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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