PREPARING FOR UNPLANNED EXITS

The 2008- 2009 global economic meltdown saw a lot of professionals losing their jobs and primary means of livelihood, as organizations grappled to maintain balance and manage plummeting finances. The trend has hardly abated since that initial onslaught. Since 2014, till date, the Nigerian working population has witnessed a chain of job losses estimated at several thousand by industry watchers.

A lot of people do not know what the future holds for them after paid employments or if it’s cut off suddenly as shown above. Most times, there is a lot negativity and fear attached to the thought of losing one’s job, for some the anticipation of it is worse than reality itself.

One might ask, what causes unplanned exit? There are three major factors that can lead to an unplanned exit from employment, these are health, behavioral and organizational problems.

 In actual fact, most employment agreements often state basically that the employment agreement can be terminated by either party at any point, so while one should naturally expect a respectable level of job security, it’s only reasonable to prepare for probable eventualities.

Preparing For Unplanned Exits – Key Actions.

1. Interpreting the Signs

Any one of the under listed might be an indication of pending exits and should be regarded as an alert signal.

  • Company announces weak earnings and/or has announced a variety of cost-cutting measures
  • Bringing in consultants to help redefine the organization’s mission, strategic direction, or operations.
  • Company plans to outsource major functions to external suppliers
  • Company is in or rumored to be in negotiations with another organization that will result in an acquisition or merger.
  • Unexpected or unexplained relocation, unusual secrecy or activities signifying a major change.
  • Company competes in an industry that is dying, diminishing or on a downward sloping curve.
  • Being too easily overlooked or regularly ignored or treated differently in an unfavorable way
  • Being suddenly or gradually relieved of work-load or re-assigned to lesser projects or executed at lower levels.
  • Getting consistent poor performance reviews
  • A request to outline or explain ones role and responsibilities, including a list of key contacts.
  • Being asked to take a pay cut (whether “temporary” or permanent). Taking one may mean validating role as non-essential, being offered one is tantamount to same.
2. Savings & Investment

In planning for sudden exit, savings and investments are an imperative and the earlier started, the better.

Savings is that portion of your income that is not spent but kept aside for pre- determined purposes or to mitigate unforeseeable circumstances. Financial investments in simple terms are financial commitments within a structured plan or to a potential profit yielding project with the intention of creating wealth.

There are 3 basic principles that apply to savings every time. They are;

  • Spend less than you earn
  • Be disciplined
  • Be consistent

If these principles are observed, irrespective of how little or great the amounts, fixed at attractive interests rates, there is certainty of a reliable “nest egg” that will act as a buffer to a large extent in the face of financial upheavals.

Investment on the other hand has multiplicity of options as numerous as they come, there are money markets investments including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, foreign exchange etc. or more capital intensive options in areas of shipping, precious metals, agriculture, real estate and such like. Determine which ones are most feasible and meet your long term needs.

Key Principles in Investments

  • Start as early as you can- the earlier you start, the better your wealth potentials
  • In weighing risks, don’t be too conservative nor too aggressive
  • Have a varied portfolio
  • Engage investment experts and professionals
  • Don’t assume that conditions will remain the same, be responsive to change

Caveat!

An investment decision can go wrong and lead to massive losses, it’s advisable to diversify your investment portfolio and engage an expert investment advisor to guard against possible risks

Planning Finances

For those who find themselves suddenly without a job or in labor market space, there is a need to review finances. Some useful financial tips for such situations are itemized below.

  • Review your current financial worth and income sources e.g. redundancy benefits, retirement savings, personal saving etc.
  • Prioritize between your needs (must have’s) and your wants (nice to have’s) and compare them to your available funds.
  • Make lifestyle changes with direct regard to sustaining financial viability. Could be moving to a more affordable community, downsizing social spending etc.
  • Limit the amount of withdrawals from financial resources to a fixed percentage.
  • Consider investments whose returns you can live by without excessively digging into capital reserves
  • Continue your search for meaningful employments, at least work on a part time or consulting basis to supplement expenses.
3. Remaining Employable( Career Attractiveness)

One key imperative in planning for unplanned exit is to ensure your sustained employability. This means that at any point in time, you are still attractive to employers. Some steps to take to ensure that this is achieved are suggested below:

  • Consistent pursuit for self-growth & development

Take personal responsibility for your growth & development, don’t always leave it to your organization, seek opportunities to update and enhance skills, knowledge and abilities and remain relevant and highly desirable to employers.

  • Be socially visible

Keep your professional and personal network “warm”. These relationships can be lifesavers if you are suddenly thrust into the job market. A personal reference is more likely to get you a job faster than traditional job seeking. Leverage on social media platforms to “see and be seen”

  • Looking Inward

Look beyond your current realities to other probably unexplored areas. Entrepreneurship is an option many employees are yet to consider as a backup plan should they lose their jobs. Yet, there are limitless potentials in this area and it may turn-out to be the best decision that one can ever take.

CONCLUSION

The present business environment has repeatedly been referred to as a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) environment. There are no guarantees anymore as was synonymous with the old economy, it’s no longer a question of job security but of employability.

While an unplanned exit may be foreseeable or not, whatever the case might be, planning well ahead is an absolute imperative to ensure that it meets one prepared and able to survive and succeed in the new phase of life.

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