So you are afraid of being fired. So prepare yourself.

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Act surprised even if you are not. And make them feel terrible.

That’s the first thing you should do if your boss says you will be fired, said Roy Cohen, who served 14 years as an in-house career coach at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and now runs his own career consulting firm.

“Always give an absolute shock,” he said. “The goal is to make them feel bad. So if you’re trying to negotiate a better package, chances are they’ll feel guilty in some way. “

Preparing to play head games is a strategy to try if you are concerned that your job might be next. But there are many more practical steps. Getting laid off is still going to suck, but it will hurt less as you put plans into action. Here are some ways to do this and some pitfalls to avoid.

Resist the preemptive strike. The stress of uncertainty can lead to fantasies about beating your business and quitting. Do not do it! And don’t accept a company’s offer to quit instead of being fired.

“A lot of people think that when they step back it looks like they were in the driver’s seat,” Cohen said. “But in this market where getting fired is the norm, telling prospective employers that you have decided to resign will sound very strange and openly question your credibility.”

“If you feel like you are losing your job, trust that instinct and plan it,” said Lindsey Pollak, author of The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace. “Many people feel a little paralyzed by fear. An important goal is to get out of this paralysis and move to a place of action. “

Know your unemployment benefit. In the United States, where many state unemployment insurance companies are inundated with claims, it pays to know what in advance Information you need in order to Apply for benefits so you can submit asap. Many country-specific unemployment-related groups have been formed on Facebook and Reddit, where people ask questions and share hacking tips through government bureaucracies.

Copy your contacts. One of the most valuable assets of many employees is the contacts they have built over the years. If you don’t have up-to-date information on business contacts in a file on your phone or PC, start the process. Make copies of any work samples a prospective employer wants to see, being careful not to violate non-compete obligations and company policies on proprietary data.

Sniff out compensation. Try to find your company’s termination and severance payment policy. Dig up your employment letter or contract to see if there is any mention of a severance pay. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask around and check a website like Glassdoor.com to see if it is featured in any company reviews. In the US, the norm for severance pay companies is a week or two for each year of employment, up to a maximum of six months, although executives can get a year. If you work for a large company, check to see if there is a former employee group on Facebook. You may be able to message members for information.

Your company may not budge, but try to negotiate. “Ask for anything and more,” said Cohen. “More money. Your bonus. The ability to exercise stock options or receive other compensation. Access to your work phone during the severance payment. The worst thing you can do is say no.”

Raise your profile. Yes, this means updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. Highlight your success working remotely. But before you polish up a LinkedIn profile, go to the privacy settings and disable the automatic notifications to your network if you want to keep changes inconspicuous. (If you don’t want anyone to see profile updates at work, you can block specific people.) If you think a layoff is imminent and you want to discreetly look for a new job, you can with a feature that LinkedIn added this year has to adjust your status to “#OpentoWork” and specify who can see it: recruiters only or everyone. (LinkedIn itself announced layoffs of about 960 people on Tuesday.)

Build savings, reduce debt. When you save a few months in spending, you won’t have to take on expensive credit card debt or skip payments and hurt your credit score. Sometimes the cost can fall out of the box: consider the $ 3,000 expatriates returning to New Zealand may be asked to pay the required two weeks Hotel quarantine. Try to save six months or more on the cost of living. That sounds high, but remember, that doesn’t necessarily mean six full paychecks. You want enough to cover the basics: housing, car payments, utilities, internet, cell phones, health care. While you’re employed, you can easily set up automatic direct deposits from your paycheck into a savings account so you don’t even have to think about spending the money.

Stay flexible. During your employment, contact former colleagues who have switched to consulting or project work and, in the event of a layoff, consider taking this route, which can eventually lead to a full-time position. One bright spot is that as remote work increases, more and more employers are willing to look for candidates far away. To come up with ideas for new directions, visit the website 50 ways to find a job.

Be a creative networker. Finding groups on Facebook and LinkedIn is the first step, but check out what your university’s career office has to offer, occupational groups you belong to, and ask about private Facebook communities connected to your industry and those you are may join.

Perfect your video presence. Practice using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or any other video conferencing program an interviewer might choose. Record yourself in a mock interview with a friend. Use a neutral background, wear solid colors, and remember to mute your phone and computer’s pop-ups.

Beware of being called back prematurely from work abroad. Typical industry practice is for employees working overseas to be repatriated before they know they will be fired, said Katrin Razzano, vice president of moving company Graebel Companies. In this way the person can be fired in their own country and a company does not violate the rules of a foreign country to fire people.

Search for rays of light. There are always growing areas, even in economically difficult situations. In Singapore, for example, GDP slumped 41.2% year on year from the first to the second quarter, led by contractions in the travel industry. But Singapore’s fintech sector has grown rapidly even during the pandemic, and expansion by global private banks in Singapore has intensified the rivalry for talent, according to Bloomberg intelligence analysts. Hong Kong-based companies have also become more interested in considering moving to Singapore.

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