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4 reasons to keep contributing when you have been laid off

How will you handle your job if you know you are being laid off?
How will you handle your job if you know you are being laid off?
Renjith Krishnan

Often times when employees receive notice that they will be laid off, they may, in fact, remain with the company for a period of time before being let go. Under the WARN Act employers are required to provide 60 days written notice of the intention to lay off more than 50 employees during any 30 – day period as part of a plant closing.

Employees who have been notified of their upcoming lay off have an important choice to make. They can either ‘check out’, or continue to perform and contribute to the organization. This can be an extremely stressful time because one is trying to juggle the job search while wrapping things up at work and provide a smooth transition. Coupled with this is the awkwardness of interacting with co-workers who don’t exactly know how to treat their departing colleague.

It is also not unusual for a company to ‘cut too deep’ and ask the departing employee to return as a contractor. How would you handle this situation?

I have coached many individuals in the above-mentioned scenarios and offer 4 reasons you should continue to contribute when you know you will be losing your job.

1. Demonstrates professionalism. If you can show your commitment to the company by closing out projects and conducting a smooth transition you reinforce your reputation as a professional. I had one client whose job was being outsourced. He was asked to travel to Spain two weeks prior to his departure so that he could finish up a critical project. He did just that and insured a smooth transition upon his departure.
2. Builds your resume. There will likely be skills and accomplishments you can add to your resume during your last days at work. One client had to train her successor to take over responsibilities for the corporate newsletter.
3. Get a positive reference. Probably the best reason to continue to contribute in a big way is the opportunity to obtain a positive reference. If you have done a stellar job transitioning out of your job you have all the more reason to ask for a positive reference. Don’t be shy about asking for LinkedIn recommendations either. I had one client who obtained 6 unsolicited recommendations on LinkedIn after she assisted with a lengthy plant closing.
4. Feel better about yourself. When you walk out of your exit interview you can look back and say, ‘I feel good because I did my job and I did it well’. You may be losing your job but not your good reputation.

If you know you will be losing your job use your last days and weeks at work wisely. It may be a stressful time but if you learn how to ‘make lemonade out of lemons’ it will do nothing but boost your self-esteem as you enter the job market. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.