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Remain a Professional Even When You are Being Laid Off

So you're hearing rumors around work about downsizing and lay-offs within the company. While your first reaction may be to start helping yourself to office supplies- DON'T. At this point, you're not even sure if it's you going to be laid off, and this could give your boss a reason to include you on the Pink Slip List.

Now, more than ever, it's important for you to stay focused and continue to act like the professional you are. Even though you may fantasize about it, now is not the time to march into the office and tell your boss what you really think of him or her. Chances are you'll need the reference, so now is the time to really suck up. Just kidding, but keep your opinions to yourself and continue to do your best work. You'll need the reference when you're gone, and you want it to be a good one. Depending on the circumstances, you may be asked to work for your former employer as an outside consultant, but if you've burned this bridge it's a sure thing you won't.

Avoid the impulse to make it obvious during your working time that you're updating your resume or calling a headhunter. It's very important for you to begin networking and spread the word you're looking for another job, but be careful about it. Again, you may not be one of those being downsized, but if your boss gets word you're looking elsewhere he will stop considering you to be a loyal employee.

Now is the time to discreetly begin to clean up your desk. It's a matter of security now that as soon as an employee is let go they are followed back to their office and watched as they clean out their desk. So, if you have any personal files in your desk or on your computer, start copying and erasing them. You don't want to be doing this while Big Brother is hovering by to make sure you don't steal any pencils before you go.

While I've been making light of the situation in this article, being laid off IS a very stressful time for you, your fellow employees and your boss. Unless he has a personality like Tony Soprano, most bosses hate to have to look you in the eye and tell you that you're fired. It's the worst part of being the boss.

In the future you will probably look back on this and be glad it happened even though it doesn't seem so right now. Maybe this is the perfect time to start that business you've been thinking about, learn that new skill, or go after that dream job you always wanted.