Losing a job is never an easy experience. It can be especially challenging when it happens unexpectedly. Unfortunately, layoffs are a reality for many people in any stage of their career. Even if an individual has been working at the same company for years, they are surely not be immune to layoff decisions. That’s why it’s crucial to prepare in advance and build a safety net for job security.
In this episode, I discuss some tips on creating a Plan B strategy that can help you to stay employable.
Here are some points and strategies:
- Building a network to find job opportunities and get referrals.
- Attending events and joining industry organizations.
- Visibility online is essential.
- Keeping skills and knowledge up-to-date
- A track record of achievements should be built
- An emergency fund should be set aside in the event of job loss.
Plan B – Preparing for Getting Laid Off
[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to a new episode of the effective statistician. Today we are talking about something that unfortunately happens all the time. People, more or less out of the blue get laid off. I have seen that across the industry again and again. I know people who were made redundant. Yeah, nice term, nice HR term for making it sound less bad. So many times yes six times seven times throughout their career and mostly it has nothing to do with their performance.
It was just that they were at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and then someone higher up in the organization decided, Okay, we cut this group. We close this site. We stop researching on this area. We… need to cut because we don’t have enough budget anymore. Rerun out of cash. Whatsoever. There are a million reasons why senior executives cut jobs, mergers, acquisitions very often, and even if you’re in a big company.
Yeah, that doesn’t mean that, this big company purchased another company and you get laid off. Because you are made for it and not people from the new company. Because they are seen as cool guys and the guys that have performed. Maybe your company even decides to completely outsource everything that you do.
I’ve seen that being happening for big company. Yeah, they just decided, oh, really, they are stats and programming department. Come on, we can just hire zero to do that. So it can happen to you as well, and it can happen to you early in your career, or it can happen to you late in your career. I have a friend that was laid off this year. She worked nearly 20 years with the company. Unbelievable. She was highly successful in her area.
She was well respected. And interestingly, the company really needed her expertise. They had a lag in that area and of course, a year after she got laid off, and of course months after she got laid off, they recognized, ah, we don’t have enough knowledge, we don’t have enough network, we don’t have enough capabilities in this area.
It is not easily to be replaced by someone from a CRO. What can you do to prepare for that? Because it can happen anytime. Okay, here are a couple of considerations. The first is… What you should not do. And that is nothing. Just think about it. Oh, it will not happen to me. I’m good. Whatsoever. Don’t think that way. It can happen to anybody. At Roche, they recently fired nearly all the middle managers. So even if you are in a senior position, in a position where you have 100 people reporting to you. You can be fired because the first really important tip for you is network.
Create a network. And not just within your company. Outside of your company. Be visible outside of your company. Go to conferences. Speak at conferences. Get to know people. Work in cross industry organization groups like the ASA, PSI, all the different SBI organizations. If you’re in a different country around the world, there’s surely an organization of statisticians. Join these, be active in there, find colleagues, very often even friends in there. That will help you when you need help.
Next thing, build on your internal and external visibility. If you get laid off or if your department is closed, of course, maybe you have another opportunity in a big company. In a small company, you may not have any first opportunities, but in a big company, maybe you need to switch from oncology to neuroscience or from dermatology to oncology or whatsoever. And then maybe you’re safe. And of course, this will only be an option for the people that are highly visible and that are seen as successful. If you’re just a number in the system, if you’re just a name that nobody really knows, especially the people that are higher up, nobody will take care of you.
Your company doesn’t love you. Even if they say we are a big family, that is not true. Work on your external and internal visibility. One way to do this is to have your LinkedIn profile always up to date. In the Clivoffective network, the network where I’m working together with Andre and Evelyn from Clivolution we provide training on this.
We, our first webinar that we have done was on Building your LinkedIn profile and improving it so that people in the industry notice you, that people understand what you’re doing, that recruiters reach out to you because they see what you’re capable of. And it’s really meaningful what is in there. And not just, I was a project statistician. For a company XYZ from here to here.
LinkedIn is of course also a great way to build network. Follow other people, connect with other people. Everybody you meet, connect with them. Everybody you think is inspiring, follow them, connect with them. All the different recruiters that may contact you. At least accept them and through that you will get a bigger network.
It may even be helpful. No, it’s not may even be helpful. It is helpful to also invest in your interview skills. I know a couple of people, a couple of mentors that say, Apply for a new job at least once or twice a year. So that you can’t. experience with being interviewed and conducting an interview. If you haven’t been doing an interview for many years, it will feel uncomfortable.
And I’ve been there, I can tell you, that’s a mistake. Go out there. Look for the opportunities always and check what is a market value, check what is interesting out there, even if you don’t have the intention to change. You never know, maybe something interesting will come up. Another reason why you should join the Clivoffective Network.
Yeah, so because in the Clivoffective Network you will also get relevant job opportunities, not the, random ones. The random ones that are just coming out of the blue, don’t really fit you, where you directly see the recruiters have just, contacted all the people on the list or maybe not them even themselves, the assistant is just spamming people that all vaguely fit the profile they are looking for.
Next topic you should invest in is understand the landscape outside. What are the hot topics? Where are the big shifts? For example, in oncology, all the immuno oncology work, if you have been late on that’s really a disadvantage. Or maybe you see that in your area everything is going into biomarkers, or gene therapy, or, whatsoever. Be aware about these kind of things.
Always upskill yourself. That is one of the most important things. You need to stay employable. If your last training on communication, on negotiation, on all these kind of different things has been years ago, that’s really poor. There’s always something to learn on this. And I’m speaking about this all the time.
Being an influencer, being a leader, being someone that can convince others of their ideas, is really important. And if you can convince others about your ideas, you also have the fundamental skills to convince others to hire you, to employ you.
If you want to do this, it is really valuable that you build a track record of your achievements. This will help you with in interviews, it will help you, by the way, also for internal promotions and all kinds of other things. But it will definitely help you for interviews, for building a network, for presenting yourself, all these kinds of different things.
So how do you do this? It follows a very simple formula and many episodes ago I actually talked about this. It is the star formula. As is for situation. What is the situation that you were facing? What were the problems, the hurdles, the constraints? What made it hard for this problem?
Second is, what is the task that was given to you? What were you asked to achieve? What was the goal? Then you talk very specifically about what was your input in it. Very often it was a, team action or something like this. Design a study or whatsoever. But specifically lay out what was your task in it.
What was your action in it? What was your contribution? And then… The last part, the R, is about the result. Situation, task, action, result, star. Result is not we delivered the study. Result is, what was the impact? What was the value? What is the feedback that you got? What are the financial implications? What are the time implications? All these kind of different things.
Always built on this track record. Another thing that you need to have built, of course, is financial buffer. I read it again and again, people basically, spend some money that they have. Okay. That is really not a key feature here of this podcast, but don’t do that. You need to have money in the bank that helps you for a couple of months.
If you don’t have that yet, start building it up. It is so important. Your next bonus, put part of it to the side, or 5, 10% of your monthly income, put it to the side. Put it into an emergency fund so that when something happens, you have a buffer and you don’t need to accept just any job.
Now there’s one other thing that I also would like to highlight. Especially for those that are very long with their current companies. Maybe 10 or more years. The longer you are with one company, the more you think about the industry being similar to your company. And that is in certain aspects true, but in many other aspects it’s not true.
Internal politics are very different from company to company. Culture is different from company to company. Language is different from company to company. Setup is different from company to company. How people work with vendors, what they outsource, how they outsource, how they do things internally, it is different from company to company.
And especially if you’re getting more into these more senior roles, yeah, like you’re leading a bigger group, or maybe you’re even leading a department. It might easily happen that you get more and more relying on internal politics. Of course, you need to do these kind of internal politics to survive in such a middle management position, but also build up a reputation, build up your track record, build up your external network.
There are some people that I see at conferences, that I see online all the time. Awesome. But there are the majority that I don’t see. I don’t see them presenting. They say that’s just for my staff to do. That is a mistake. You need to be visible. You need to be employable. You need to build your network irrespective of where you are. In summary, you can be made redundant, nice HR term, at any time.
Irrespective of your achievements, irrespective of your seniority, irrespective of how long you’re with a company, someone higher up in the company sees you just as a number. And the bigger the company, the more likely this will be. And by the way, small companies, your owner may decide to sell your company.
Or maybe is currently selling your company and you don’t even know about it. And then, there’s a investor that is coming in or a new company, and your job might be at risk. Because maybe this new company is really just after the clients of your current company, but not after the people.
Keep on networking. Keep on training yourself. Both in terms of your skills and also in terms of your interview techniques. And lots of these you will get from the Clivoffective network. So join this network, check the show notes or just go to clivoffective.com and you’ll find everything that you need to know about what we do there, André, Evelyn and myself.
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