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If you suspect layoff is coming, start looking

Q. I am quite sure my company will be laying off employees this summer. Our company is not doing well financially. I expect to receive some type of financial package. I do expect to be laid off because I am in a marketing role which could easily absorbed by another person. I also have earned the reputation as a complainer because I voice my opinion. I don’t think I am a complainer, but several others have labeled me as a complainer. Should I wait for the financial package or start looking for a job now?

A. Let me share a few thoughts before I answer your question. First, being perceived as a “complainer” is almost never a sought-after characteristic. While most of us could find flaws within our jobs, co-workers, or companies, raising concerns in a positive and productive way is definitely preferred. Shedding this perception might benefit your career.

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When an employee is terminated or laid off from a company, a severance package is rarely required. Unless you have a written commitment (most likely within an employment agreement), I would not assume that you will receive a severance package.

It would be wise to begin searching for a new job now. Update your resume. Begin connecting with others in your field and geographic area. Attend workshops, seminars, or webinars that could help build your knowledge (and contacts) within marketing. If you begin the early stages of your search now, you will be further along if you are laid off this summer.

If you attended college, become active in alumni activities, particularly those with networking opportunities. Become more active on social media, especially LinkedIn. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete, including a photo.

Last, when you start your next job, think about the “complainer” perception. When you raise a concern, do it in a thoughtful and positive way. Offer solutions, rather than just focusing on the concern alone. Employees who are able to identify concerns and solve problems are almost always valuable to any type of organization.

Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.
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