Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 9, Issue 5;   February 4, 2009: How to Avoid a Layoff: Your Relationships

How to Avoid a Layoff: Your Relationships

by

In troubled economic times, layoffs loom almost everywhere. Here are some tips for reconfiguring your relationships with others at work and at home to reduce the chances that you will be laid off.
A pipe tomahawk dating to 1740-1780

A pipe tomahawk dating to 1740-1780. This weapon has a steel head, probably of European or colonial manufacture. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America, tomahawks had stone heads, and pipe tomahawks were much more rare. The ritual of burying the hatchet probably involved not hatchets, but tomahawks and other weaponry, usually contributed by both sides. The ritual might have signified peace, but more often it meant merely a cessation of hostilities. In the modern workplace, we have no ritual for ending quarrels and feuds, but we would surely benefit from the adoption of something formal. The power of ritual, especially one witnessed by many people in addition to the parties to the conflict, would add durability to the cessation of hostilities. Photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

During any economic contraction, layoffs are in the air. If you still have a job, you've probably worried about layoffs. Fortunately, there's more you can do than worry. You can actually take steps in three areas: your own frame of mind, your relationships and your situation. Last week we dealt with frame of mind. Next week, we'll address ways to improve your situation. Today, we examine relationships.

Make job security a family effort
Involve the entire family in the effort to keep you employed. To enhance your sense of financial security, reduce family expenses in ways that don't materially affect happiness. Everyone can help, by reducing expenditures, downsizing wants, and disclosing needs before they become expensive emergencies.
Bury the hatchet and look the other way
Now is not the time for workplace feuds and duels. Do what you can to be easy to work with, to be cooperative and flexible. If you have enemies of long standing, think about ways to patch things up. Certainly do nothing to create any new problems.
Create solutions for your boss
The quality of your relationship with your boss can determine your longevity on the job. Go beyond avoiding creating problems for your boss — create solutions. Of course, in doing so, take care not to overstep the bounds of your job. Become known for getting things done with dispatch.
Beware workplace romance
Almost always a bad idea, workplace romance is an especially bad idea now. While they last, romances can create trouble with colleagues, and even more trouble when they end. If you haven't started one yet, don't. If you're in one, have a chat about the extreme importance of discretion.
Participate in local chapters of professional societies
Usually this is a one-evening-a-month commitment. Not much, but it can be important in keeping you attuned to conditions, and keeping you in touch with your network. You'll gain valuable information while you build a support structure you might someday need yourself if the worst happens.
Now is not the time for
workplace feuds and duels.
Do what you can to
be easy to work with.
Keep your internal network strong
Now more than ever, it's important to know what's happening in your organization. Attend to your internal network. Make new contacts and refresh existing contacts. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter as internal networking tools.
Keep your external network strong
Your external network is not just a source of job leads when you need them. It's also a source of information about the place where you now work, and conditions in your industry. And people in your network need your help too. No doubt you have already received, or soon will receive, requests for references. Help whenever you can. If you want your network to support you someday, keep (or start) supporting it now.

Next time we'll examine strategies and tactics for strengthening your position at work. First in this series   Next in this series Go to top Top  Next issue: How to Avoid a Layoff: Your Situation  Next Issue

303 Secrets of Workplace PoliticsIs every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrennkwClEMdLDjbIeifner@ChacPGoITZywJtpaovuQoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Emotions at Work:

A straw-bale houseResponding to Threats: I
Threats are one form of communication common to many organizational cultures, especially as pressure mounts. Understanding the varieties of threats can be helpful in determining a response that fits for you.
Dr. Jerri Nielsen at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 1999On Virtual Relationships
Whether or not you work as part of a virtual team, you probably work with some people you rarely meet face-to-face. And there are some people you've never met, and probably never will. What does it take to maintain good working relationships with people you rarely meet?
Winslow Homer's painting, BlackboardFill in the Blanks
When we conceal information about ourselves and our areas of responsibility, we make room for others to speculate. Speculation is rarely helpful. It's wise to fill in the blanks.
A tensile failure of a bottom chord in a covered bridgeThe Problem of Work Life Balance
When we consider the problem of work life balance, we're at a disadvantage from the start. The term itself is part of the problem.
A field of corn severely stunted by droughtToxic Conflict in Virtual Teams: Virtuality
In virtual teams, toxic conflict sometimes seems to erupt spontaneously. People who function effectively in co-located teams can find themselves repeatedly embroiled in conflicts that seem to lack specific causes. What triggers toxic conflict in virtual teams?

See also Emotions at Work and Managing Your Boss for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Five almondsComing October 25: Workplace Memes
Some patterns of workplace society reduce organizational effectiveness in ways that often escape our notice. Here are five examples. Available here and by RSS on October 25.
Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International AirportAnd on November 1: Risk Creep: I
Risk creep is a term that describes the insidious and unrecognized increase in risk that occurs despite our every effort to mitigate risk or avoid it altogether. What are the dominant sources of risk creep? Available here and by RSS on November 1.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenrSlRPKKGeVLnkciwner@ChacENfddsFXTFHIZRkLoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

Ten Project Management Fallacies: The Power of Avoiding Hazards
Most Ten Project Management Fallaciesof what we know about managing projects is useful and effective, but some of what we know "just ain't so." Identifying the fallacies of project management reduces risk and enhances your ability to complete projects successfully. Even more important, avoiding these traps can demonstrate the value and power of the project management profession in general, and your personal capabilities in particular. In this program we describe ten of these beliefs. There are almost certainly many more, but these ten are a good start. We'll explore the situations where these fallacies are most likely to expose projects to risk, and suggest techniques for avoiding them. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
Workplace Politics Awareness Month KitIn October, increase awareness of workplace politics, and learn how to convert destructive politics into creative politics. Order the Workplace Politics Awareness Month Kit during October at the special price of USD 29.95 and save USD 10.00! Includes a copy of my tips book 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics which is a value!! ! Check it out!
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.