Prepare for Retrenchment

JC Project Freedom Insurance against Recession

This article is to prepare me in the event there is retrenchment. I had experienced 4 retrenchments since 2017. When you are given the retrenchment letter by your manager, remember to look surprised and you find yourself in utter shock. This is to make them feel awful. When they feel bad, you can negotiate a better severance package. There is an avalanche of layoffs that have been moving across every industry. All firms are trying to figure out their long-term strategy in the post-pandemic world.

Don’t submit your own resignation letter just to beat your company to the game, resigning does not mean you are in control. Getting fired in this market is the norm. If you resign on your own without a job, this will raise a lot of questions about your credibility unless you have a strong justification.

What are the things that you can do?

Set up your own contacts database as one of the most valuable assets is the contacts that you built up over the years. You should have a database with all business contacts, stored in a file on your phone, personal computer, or on the cloud.

Create a sample of your work that you can present to your future employer while being mindful not to step on any non-competition clauses and company policies governing confidential information.

Understand your employment contract, see whether there is any termination and severance clause. The norm is usually two weeks to one month pay for each year of employment. If you work at a large MNC, it is easy to check if there is a group for former employees on Facebook. You can ask the members for further information.

You should try to negotiate for more money, bonus, exercise stock options, and get back differed compensation. You can ask for access to your work phone during the severance period. It is time to update your resume and Linkedin profile. Switch on the option that only recruiters can see that you are looking for a new employment opportunity.

Build up your savings to cater for six to twelve months of emergency funds, pay down credit card debts and have some surplus to cater for house mortgages, car payments, utilities, telecommunication, insurance, and basic medical expenses.

Get in touch with your ex-colleagues and they are able to lead you to opportunities such as jobs, contracts, projects, and consulting roles which may eventually lead to a permanent role. As remote working will become common, employers are looking farther afield for candidates.

You should practice your video presentation skills using Zoom, Skype, Webex, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Team. There is an increasing number of interviews that are done virtually. Hence, you need to be comfortable conducting presentations online. Recently, I attended this online presentation workshop by Dale Carnegie.

Be careful to be called back early from working abroad. The industry practice is employees working abroad repatriated before they know that their job will be terminated. The person can be terminated on the home country’s rules and laws.

There are always bright spots and growing areas. In Singapore, the fintech sector has been growing and the private banking sector in Singapore is fighting for talent.

Personal Update

Recently, the HR department is requesting everyone to return to Malaysia by 10th August. When you give control to others, you have no control over your own destiny. It does not make sense to return back to the office when work can be conducted via online meetings and using technology to share files. Traveling will impose unnecessary costs such as quarantine, swab test, and health risks due to COVID-19. Furthermore, if I return to the office, I need to stay for 90 days before I can travel back to Singapore for a maximum of 60 days. The rules are changing and I hope things will turn out better than expected.

All my friends recommended that I speak to my boss to consider implementing KPI so that my performance can be measured while working from Singapore. There is another recommendation for me to go for mid-career training such as TechSkills Accelerator initiative to be paid while I upskill and change the industry.

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