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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

The Best Moves to Make if You Hear Your Company's Restructuring

team meeting
Art Wager/Getty Images

The news just landed in your inbox. Or maybe even in your ear, whispered through the gossip chain from one colleague to another—the company is restructuring.

The first question you probably have is: “What does this mean for me?” And that’s a fair question because there are a few different outcomes.

But what I want you to know first is that this is unfortunately a part of working in today’s world. And while that might not be comforting in the moment, you’ll learn that once you survive it once, you can survive it again.

So, after you take a deep breath, I want you to do the following:

1. Gather Information

You want to start by understanding what’s going on. Often, large corporations will issue a press release addressing the size and scope of upcoming layoffs. If you work for a small company that doesn’t warrant a media presence, that’s OK. Take advantage of the transparency, open communication, and exposure to leadership that often come with working for a small organization.

If your boss (or leadership in general) is being forthcoming about information, you should ask the following questions:

  • Will there be layoffs?
  • How are they deciding?
  • Who is deciding?

Now, you might not get all the information you want, but the more you get, the better.

2. Know Your Worth

Take comfort in the fact that you bring something amazing to the table. And if you’re feeling uncertain about this, if that ol’ imposter syndrome is creeping in, take a step back and recall past achievements.

Gather old performance appraisals, think back on conversations you’ve had with your boss, and consider how your work has impacted company success. Write down your contributions and accomplishments in the most quantitative and numeric way possible. Consider the ways you’ve worked across departments and how your skills might be useful in a variety of ways within the business. In the event you’re able to connect with a key decision maker, this may prove valuable.

3. Get on the Decision-Maker’s Radar

This is easier said than done. But, it can really help you in this type of situation if you’re able to find a way to do it.

When my friend got wind of the fact that his company was looking to cut the headcount in half, he made his move. As a new member of the leadership team at a small financial institution, he scheduled time with the CEO to lay out the nature, importance, and impact of his position. The meeting led to the CEO suggesting a full day of shadowing to get a proper grasp on his day-to-day duties.

Sure, it made him a little uneasy, but not only did he keep his job, he made a new and important ally. Meeting with the CEO may not be realistic for you, but you can still attempt to schedule time with people who ought to be aware of your accomplishments, contributions, and impact.

4. Start Reaching Out to Your Network Regardless

OK, assuming you’ve done what you can to control the situation, you also want to be real and recognize that you may lose your job through no fault of your own and even faster that you thought. (And if that happens, read this.)

Instead of sitting around anxiously anticipating the news, start reaching out to your network, updating your resume, and polishing up that LinkedIn. Seeing what opportunities exist for you outside the company and knowing that you have options can bring a tremendous amount of comfort—and even potential leverage.

There’s so much in these moments that you have absolutely no control over, but prepping for a job search is something you do.

With all this said, maybe you’re feeling like your current position isn’t worth fighting for. That’s okay—this could be an opportunity to go after a new job or even a new career. I walked away from my role to pursue my passion as a recruiter and career coach. I’ve watched client after client walk away from their current positions only to land jobs at more exciting companies.

Trust your instincts and bet on yourself, as great things may be right around the corner for you, too.