Dear Liz,

What is the best way to be layoff-proof? There have been some reductions in force at my job and I want to make myself impossible to live without (from my employer’s standpoint).



Dear Rusha,

There is no way to be layoff-proof. You could be the greatest employee in the world. If there were a meeting in Hong Kong or Philadelphia tomorrow at which it were decided that the whole division will shut down, then it will shut down.

I don’t mean to be negative but I want you to know where your power IS and where it isn’t.

You cannot cling to a job and think, “My biggest priority is to keep this job!” You do not have enough control over that outcome to make “keeping my job” your most effective strategy.

The smarter and more empowered (and empowering) strategy is to be marketable. Get the resume fodder you can get at every job, which will also make you a stellar employee. Learn everything you can. Take on every new challenge.

You cannot control the actions of a few people in your company who get to decide whether you stay or go. Do the amazing job you always do – you can’t do more than that. It would not be healthy to try, especially if everyone around you is doing the same thing.

Be marketable, instead!

Know what kind of pain you solve for employers. Know how that pain shows up and how much it costs them.

Know which other employers you would approach if this job went away or seemed to be at risk.

Know how much money your talents are worth to employers.

Follow and research employers who are mostly likely to need someone with your talents and experience.

Pay attention to skills and other requirements that show up in job ads. Have you done anything close to what employers are looking for? Could you wend your way to a relevant project now?

Capture your stories! Write them in a journal. Include your favorite triumphs in your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Be awake and alert. Read job ads. Talk to recruiters when they reach out. When you are ready, flip the switch on LinkedIn to tell recruiters, “I am interested in hearing about new opportunities.”

(What is the downside?)

ACTION is the best remedy to worry. Take charge of your career and step into your power. If your current employer does not require your services after a certain point, another organization will.

All the best to you,