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Design your career ‘disaster plan’ now, before you need it

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Career Management,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Issue: You know how to help employees who are fired or laid off. But HR people often forget those principals when facing that problem themselves.

Benefit: With proper planning now, you'll position yourself to thrive, not just survive, in case the ax falls on you, someday.

Action: Apply the steps detailed below to ready yourself for any unexpected career detour.

While you're probably skilled at helping others adjust to a job loss, how would you handle the same situation if you were laid off or fired? Haven't thought about it? That's a mistake.

Layoffs can be devastating, but they don't need to crush your career. You'll steady your career path more quickly by taking these smart steps while you're still employed:

1. Assess your career, and devise a plan. Don't wait until you're between jobs to reassess your career path. Now is an excellent time to re-evaluate your calling. Do you want to stay in the same industry? Is it time to follow your dream of entrepreneurship or a master's degree. Map out your plan and timeline.

2. Maintain and enhance your knowledge. Don't let tunnel vision on your job cause you to lose sight of constantly changing HR trends. Stay updated by tapping into various publications (including the HR Specialist Forum, www.hrspecialist. net). Attend local HR-related association meetings and seminars.

3. Remember that networking is a two-way street. Networking is about giving and receiving information and resources with others. And remember that networking doesn't start when you lose your job; it's a continuous process. Too many people begin to participate in HR activities after they've lost their job.

4. Seek help with your rÈsumÈ. You may have taught others how to write rÈsumÈs, so you may not think you need help with yours. Not true. It's always better to recruit a fresh pair of eyes. Find someone who will give you helpful, honest feedback and be willing to make changes.

Bouncing back after a layoff

You can also act now to head off the emotional aftereffects of being laid off or fired. For example:

1. Loss of self-esteem and confidence. Write down 10 of your most important work accomplishments, and revise them periodically. Incorporate them into your rÈsumÈ.

2. Loss of identity. Print up simple business cards with your contact info. Identify yourself as an "HR professional" or "HR consultant." Use them to network.

3. No place to go every morning. Set up a daily calendar of outside-work professional activities, then stick to it.

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