Recently, there’s been plenty of rumblings about potential layoffs at Ford. As someone who was born and raised in Michigan, I know all too well that the instability of the auto industry can make or break the residents of this state.
Jim Hackett, Ford’s CEO, has come forward to announce a $25.5 billion restructuring of the company in an effort to cut costs, and to remain competitive in an economy when auto sales are down. It doesn’t help that recent trade tariffs on metals and other required goods are costing Ford $1 billion in profit (according to Hackett – this may or not be 100% accurate information based on a recent Snopes report).
If you’re feeling worried about the potentially impending layoffs at Ford, you’re not alone. I know from personal experience. At a recent birthday party, my friends who work at Ford were anxiously chatting about what may happen next. They couldn’t resist peppering me with questions about how to best prepare financially if it should happen. My clients that work at Ford are equally nervous.
The company has had notable layoffs in the past, like when they cut 35,000 workers in January of 2002 after hitting hard economic times. Thankfully, this time you have a bit of a runway before anything happens. It’s likely that layoffs won’t begin until the start of 2019 – if they begin at all.
A potential layoff can be nervewracking. While there are definitely reasons to be concerned about what a layoff might mean for your finances, it’s also important to recognize that excessive worrying won’t help anything. In these situations, taking action is way more important than succumbing to panic and overwhelm.
So, how should you start to prepare?
What Should You Do To Intelligently Prepare Yourself?
First and foremost, don’t panic about layoffs unless you know they’re a certainty. It’s wise to prepare for the worst possible situation, but stay hopeful for the best. When you have a few months to consider whether or not layoffs are a possibility, you’ll be able to do the legwork ahead of time to make sure if you’re one of the few who does lose their job, you’ll be well prepared (and you’ll know what you can expect from Ford moving forward).
Know What You’re Entitled To
If you’re anticipating a layoff, at Ford or elsewhere, it’s smart to sniff around to figure out what, exactly, you’re entitled to if you do get laid off. Double check the fine print in your contract or reach out to your HR coordinator. Here are a few of the questions you should be asking:
- If I get laid off, am I entitled to a severance package? If so, what does that package entail?
- Are there any company policies that went into effect after I started my career here that could impact what I’m entitled to if I get laid off?
- What benefits have I accrued that I’ll need to keep track of (unused vacation days, money owed, etc.)?
- Will my company help to provide me with health insurance if I’m laid off?
- How do I apply for COBRA?
Don’t Shy Away From Negotiation
Severance packages aren’t always negotiable – but in a situation like this, never say never. It’s worthwhile to look into what severance package you’d qualify for, and determine whether or not it will meet your needs.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate for what you want and need in the event of a layoff, you may be able to walk away with an extra financial buffer that can help you to stretch your savings a little bit further until you find another job.
Build Your Emergency Fund, Now!
Don’t wait to start saving until you know whether or not you’re getting laid off. Start an emergency fund right away!
Put a minimum of 6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund (12-months would be ideal). If you’re not there yet, now is the time to look carefully at your budget and cut any unnecessary expenses. Put the extra money you save directly into your emergency fund.
Even if you don’t get laid off, or if you do but find another job quickly, having this money in savings is a wise long-term strategy. As you may have noticed throughout your own life, the “shit happens box” never truly goes away.
Don’t Give In To Negativity
It’s easy to fall into a negativity trap when you’re anticipating a layoff. Employees who have been worried about layoffs in the past have always described the workplace as tense, or uncomfortable in the time leading up to layoff announcements. It’s natural to be nervous or upset, but don’t let those negative emotions stall you out. You need to keep moving forward to set yourself up for success in case you end up facing a worst-case scenario and losing your job.
Some things you can do to prepare yourself emotionally might be brushing up your resume, doing some preemptive job hunting, and networking with past colleagues on LinkedIn.
It’s also important to take this time to get your finances in order. The good news is that you can start by downloading our free Layoff Checklist. This checklist walks you through all of the financial “to do’s” you should be focusing on before you get laid off to set you and your family up for financial success.
Also published on Medium.