I read the news today that Intel plans to cut 10,500 jobs, or 10% of its workforce. Savings are said to be about $3B a year after the inevitable couple years of adjustment.
Whenever I read things like that, I can’t help but think about the dramas unfolding tonight in the kitchens and living rooms of some of those that were laid off. Despite all the impending signs, I can bet with total certainly that there were some affected employees totally unprepared for the news. They went home with a dazed look on their face and realized:
- They have no savings
- They have no idea how long they can go without working
- They don’t have any "gig" on the side to bring in some extra cash
- They have no idea what their next career move is going to be
- Their network is solely made up of work colleagues from Intel
- They didn’t think that their job would be on the line this time around
- They have no idea how to market themselves
The power of denial is very strong in many of us (myself included sometimes!). Until you actually receive notice that you are losing your job, you rarely do anything to prepare for it. So if you don’t want to find yourself in the same place as some of those poor souls today, please do the following:
- Get your financial house in order. If you get stuck or overwhelmed, call a professional.
- Get out of your comfortable circle and meet some new people. Go to an interesting conference where there are people from all kinds of companies and industries. Take a night class at your local university, volunteer in a professional business association or check out some new online forums.
- Start working on a side gig. I think that the way the world and the economy are going, we ALL are going to have to know how to generate income from more than one primary source. You can start small – do one consulting project. Sell a piece of your artwork. Get a paid gig with your garage band. Invest in a rental property. You need to start experimenting with different ways to make money so that you don’t paint yourself in a corner if your job goes away.
- Take your training and learning seriously. This is not the time to slack off at your job, it is the time to drink great mouthfuls of the fire hose of information spraying at you. Don’t be the smart-ass student in your communication skills class, be the teacher’s pet. Take on new and different projects that develop new skill sets. Complete certifications, take advantage of tuition reimbursement and attend all relevant in-house training that you can.
- Spend time thinking about your next career move. If it is your own business, start working on it.
Please don’t fall victim to the "I didn’t see it coming" syndrome. A pink slip (especially with a severance check stapled to the back) can be a great blessing if you are prepared.
Good luck soon-to-be-former Intel’ers! I hope your transition is better than I imagine.