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Your Job is like a Game of Chess: Tips for Surviving Layoffs

March 27, 2015

More companies are going through layoffs—though they are still doing so quietly and methodically, so much so that most people don’t even notice. One day you go looking for a coworker and they are no longer there. They’ve been gone for weeks. Months. And you didn’t even notice. So how do you survive layoffs? And save your job… Surviving layoffs starts long before a company even considers them, and they are not just motivated by economic reasons. Layoffs are now about making companies even more efficient even in good times. One way to do that is to trim the fat–the slackers. Every company has them. So they layoff a bunch of employees and turn around and hire some new ones. Not as many though. They don’t have to because they hire people who are high performers. Those who can, and will, do more with less.

Your Job is like a game of Chess.

Your Job is like a game of Chess.

Companies have learned that high performers are always looking for next BIG challenge. Hence, they can throw any problem at them and they will try to solve it. Better still, high performers identify problems on their own and propose solutions—problems that their employers didn’t even know they had. Are you one of those people? If you aren’t one of those types—and it’s ok if you’re not, most people aren’t, you can still change. And should, since this type of efficiency improvement process is part of corporate America going forward. Things will only get tougher for people who are not high-performing employees as the world economy moves faster and faster. So what can you do? Change. Learn. Grow. 5 Tips for Surviving Layoffs 1. Be flexible. Take on extra tasks that challenge you and force you out of your comfort zone 2. Be fearless. Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions, ideas, but do it constructively and positively. Don’t attack. Eastern philosophy refers to this as “embracing the tiger,” meaning that when you embrace your fears, the process begins a dance rather than a struggle to avoid them. Try it. It works. 3. Be diplomatic. When you play nice with others, people like to work with you. That’s worth a million. It’s sometimes worth more than a fancy resume! 4. Be honest about your fears and concerns in taking on new challenges. It’s ok. Most employers want you to succeed, not fail. They can guide and support you. 5. Make the first move. When you see times are getting tough, go immediately to your boss and find out what you can do to help make things more efficient, or support the transition. In the beginning of my career, I was not one of those types. I didn’t want to do anything more than what I’d been hired for, unless I was paid more money. So much so, I obsessively scoured my job description on a regular basis to see if anyone was trying to take advantage of me. Sound familiar? I wanted my nights and weekends free all the time—without work infringing on my good time and I was determined to keep it that way. But I also wanted to make a lot of money to spend during that free time. Unfortunately, that approach didn’t get me very far, very fast, so I realized something had to give. Keeping a job is like playing a chess game Jobs and careers are like a chess game—all about strategic moves. You make one, they make one, etc. And eventually someone wins. Then you start a new game. And all those games are in essence part of a giant tournament in the national and international marketplace. You win on one level and you move up the roster to a higher level and play against smarter, faster thinkers. And so on. And at each level you learn to be more strategic—learn how to win faster and bigger. And get more of what you want. If you just sit back and don’t study the chess board and watch the moves others are making, or have the potential to make, you fall behind—and ultimately, layoffs come in, shut down your game and you lose. Don’t lose. Start taking steps today! g_ROD

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