By Melina Renee Meshako, CCS, LEED AP Captial Specs, LLC

If your firm is in downsizing mode, here are a few things to do to prepare yourself:

1.       Have all of your medical tests, annual exams etc. done now – before you are downsized and before your insurance runs out.  This includes eye and dental exams too.
2.       Refill all of your prescriptions.  If your plan permits it, buy 3 months worth.  If you need a new pair of eye glasses, do it now.
3.         Update your resume.

4.         Don’t take it personally.  This is all about the bottom line.
5.         Leave gracefully because you never know when you may work with any of your colleagues at that firm again.
6.         Sign up for COBRA medical coverage at your exit interview or as soon as possible.
7.         Your colleagues may have leads for your next job, so give your friends your home contact information (phone numbers and email address)
8.         Sign up for unemployment the next business day after your employment has been terminated.  Yes, you may land a job within days or weeks of your downsizing event, however the unemployment benefits take a while to process.  And a percentage of your weekly salary is better than nothing when you’re unemployed or employed and waiting for that first check from your new employer.
9.         Your colleagues may have leads for your next job, so keep in touch. (Also it’s good for socialization needs.)
10.       If you don’t have an answering machine or answering service on your phone plan, then now is the time to invest in one of these. 
11.       Find one thing to do first thing every morning.  Choose a physical activity to get you moving into the day.  (I climbed Diamond Head at 6:30 am every morning for several months – 198 steps in the 1.4 mile trail.  My nephew kayaked across a lake in Georgia every morning while he was in transition between jobs.)
12.       Remain sociable.  The biggest adjustment when you’re unemployed is being alone more than you were during your normal work day.  (In Hawaii, we use to joke about buying 2 or 3 items at a time at the grocery store just so you would need to go through the check out line again later in the day.)  Check in with your local AIA Chapter.  In addition to job boards, sometimes they will host informal gatherings for the recently unemployed (resume updating, networking, interview skills, how to post resumes on the internet and how to search internet job postings).

Downsizing is never pleasant, however these tips may make it less stressful for you and may be helpful to your fellow associates.

Melina Renee Meshako, CCS, LEED AP

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