Getting laid off

Thailand might be clawing its way out of the recent economic crisis, but with the slowing ? and changing – global economy, that doesn?t mean you should take for granted that your job is secure.

Restructurings happen; technology alters demand for certain types of skills; personality conflicts emerge. According to research by outplacement specialists DBM Thailand, the typical ?transitioning? executive in Thailand is aged 41, will have spent eight years with their previous employer, and will spend just over three months unemployed. Would you be able to cope if you became one of the statistics?

Look ahead and be prepared is what experts advise. ?In order to prepare yourself to face these challenges it is important to look at overall trends, understand growth areas and keep your relevant skills up to date,? advises Julian Merrill, managing consultant at DBM Thailand. Furthermore, Mr Merrill adds, keep your resume up to date; don?t let your interview skills get rusty; look out for other employment opportunities; network; and be flexible enough to accept change.

If the worst does happen
If you lose your job, it?s time to put those skills to the test. ?It helps if you are fortunate enough to be given, as a part of your severance deal, access to outplacement counselling,? says Mr Merrill. ?This process will provide you with the chance to realign your career with your core values and help you to take the right next steps.?

However, while the use of outplacement services is on the rise in Thailand, they?re still not as widespread as many western countries. Adecco?s general manager Aree Petcharat says most companies here are yet to understand their value. ?It?s a young market. We?ve been quite successful in introducing the service to clients who are laying off staff, but many companies are still not aware of the benefits.? The main benefit to the company is that it projects a positive and more caring image of them to the marketplace.

If you don?t have the direct help of professionals, here?s what they recommend:
* Prepare mentally for the search;
* Think about what your skills are and whether you might like to change the direction of your career;
* Consider the type of job and company you?d like to work for;
* Browse job advertisements;
* List companies you could approach independently;
* Compile a list of people who might be able to assist you in your job search;
* Update your resume and practice your interview skills.

In interviews present what happened to you in a positive light. ?Don?t sound like you were the first to go, but don?t be misleading.? says Adecco?s Aree. ?Explain that your company was very good, but they were facing problems, policies changed or a department was closed, and that you were on the list of those to go. If you?re open about it, employers will be more sympathetic.?

It can be a positive experience
Siripen Songpol?s experience demonstrates that change can happen frequently, but be positive too. She was laid off from her job in public relations at an internet company last year; she had wisely kept an eye out for other jobs when she first noticed they were having financial problems. ?I didn?t feel upset at all. I had had the same experience twice before ? the marketing or public relations department is always the first choice for laying off staff. I didn?t really like my job anyway and looked forward to changing it.? Although she stayed in marketing, she happily moved out of the internet industry, relying on both her severance pay and savings to get her through the break.

According to DBM?s Mr Merrill, losing your job can provide time for reflection and an examination of your options. ?It can ?rescue? people from jobs that are no longer challenging, and breathe new life into careers that have grown stale or boring.?

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