What to do if you are facing staff cuts

Most weeks The Canberra Times carries articles about pending staff cuts. The tally so far runs to about 1500. Secretaries are quoted as saying these staff reductions will be achieved through natural attrition, review of contracts, increased opportunities for flexible working arrangements and voluntary redundancies. If facing this uncertainty, what can you do to prepare?

What steps you take will depend in part on your stage of life. A person in their 20s makes different decisions to someone in their 40s or 60s. If you have a mortgage, children, or parents to care for, then your choices will be different from someone who has none of these. Given these differences, some key steps to take include:

  • Seek financial advice from accountants and financial advisors to help decide if flexible working arrangements or a redundancy is viable.
  • Conduct a skill audit to refamiliarise yourself with your portfolio of roles, skills, knowledge and qualities.
  • Update your resume. Make sure it has a results focus.
  • Consider your next move, possibly with help from a career coach.
  • Think about where you wish to be next – in another agency, another role, another sector. Will it be a transfer sideways, a shift downwards or a promotion? What will it take to get you there?
  • Manage any anxiety. Build a support network, keep exercising, sleep well, eat well.
  • Scan the marketplace to keep abreast of trends and what jobs are available. If appropriate, start submitting applications.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.