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How to conduct a layoff drill

Blogger finds preparing has some fringe benefits.

By Karen Datko Oct 11, 2009 1:29AM

"Rutgerskevin" at The Red Stapler Chronicles coined a new term that's apropos for our collective economic situation. It's the "layoff drill," which, much like a fire drill, will help prepare you for an emergency situation.

Basically, you pretend you just lost your job and figure out how you're going to get by. "Sound like just a stupid game of make believe?" he writes. Tell that to the millions of Americans that lost their jobs this year.

Kevin designed and executed a layoff drill just in case, and found that it was incredibly productive. While Kevin is usually one of the funniest bloggers we read, this was no joke.

Among the steps in the drill (after updating your resume):

Prioritize expenses. "In my case, I would immediately get rid of all my premium cable channels (maybe not HBO since I am addicted to ‘Big Love' and ‘True Blood')," he said. Bonus: The drill prompted him to cancel his land line and he's now saving $35 a month.

Get medical and dental needs taken care of. Get the medical procedures or dental crowns you need while you still have health insurance, in case you can't afford insurance after you're laid off. (Actually, we did something similar a few months before our insurance at work was going to be deeply downgraded. Two months later we were canned, leaving us with no salary and $2,000 in medical bills that hadn't been covered by the "good" insurance. Ouch. But if you have good insurance, it is sound advice.)

Figure out how long your emergency fund, unemployment benefits and severance package will last. Don't forget to subtract out work-related spending that will go away when your job does.

Copy important business cards and, we might add, gather up anything else that's rightfully yours at your workstation. Kevin mentions good performance reviews. You may not have a chance when you get the pink slip. (We had to leave behind our favorite photo of our favorite dog on our work computer and didn't have another copy. And, no, we didn't break any company rules by having it there.)

Related reading:

Published Feb. 4, 2009
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