Don’t Get Laid Off At Work! Tips To Avoid Redundancy.

At this very minute, you can bet someone is looking at your job, wondering whether it can be cut.

Times are tough for businesses and getting tougher. The prospect of a double dip recession is growing by the day and most managers and business owners are juggling rising costs and falling sales. Something’s got to give.

That’s why you need to take every step you can to safeguard your job.

It’s not so bad if you’re highly skilled, an Executive PA or senior secretary, for example because if the axe does fall, you’ll probably get another job in a reasonably short time, even if the pay and conditions are less than you’re used to.

It’s people with broad-based skills who are most at risk, such as administrators, office managers, bookkeepers or accounts clerks. It’s these people who are most vulnerable.

If you fall into those categories, you have three main weapons with which to defend your career – self-publicity, measurability and practical skills.

Let’s look at each of these in turn.


When you work in that large body of employees mentioned above, it’s really hard to get noticed as you tend to get lumped together with the faceless mass called “administrators.”

While this may suit you in more buoyant times, it exposes you to danger when times are tough, so you need to get yourself noticed and maybe even liked!

A great way to get noticed is to be pro-active in putting forward sensible ideas for saving money or increasing productivity, to management.

To make sure they’re sensible, wait 48 hours after thinking them up before you send out an email.

If your ideas are poorly thought through, you’ll just get noticed for the wrong reasons and make yourself a target for redundancy, but if you’re smart, and don’t do it too often, a good idea may be well received.

Another way to get noticed is to change your hair or clothing style (in an appropriate manner) so that it looks like you have a new lease of life.

Get it right and you’ll look more motivated. It sounds fatuous but it’s a fact of life.

Getting noticed may put you above the parapet.

A third way to get noticed is to be extra helpful, making coffee, running errands, etc.

Yes, of course it’s sucking up to the boss, but it’s harder to get rid of someone who is helpful and if the boss has to make a choice between you and someone else, the one who bothered that little bit more may have the edge.


In tough times, bosses constantly look for ways to measure the output of their staff.

It’s easy to do this with salespeople or claims administrators but difficult with people who perform a wide range of tasks.

See if you can find a way of measuring what you do, even if it’s only “I shuffle 51 pieces of paper every day.”

Tangibilising your value to the firm is a great way to ensure your boss knows you’re delivering value.

If it’s inappropriate for you to blow your own horn, measure what you and your colleagues are achieving, as in “the department shuffles 365 pieces of paper per day.”

Let your boss know with an email along the lines of “I thought you’d be impressed to hear that ……..”

Everybody likes to hear good news, especially when it’s the only positive data coming through.

Practical Skills.

Take stock of your practical skills and how they could be developed to deliver better productivity to your employer.

Look for skills gaps and fill them in order to prove (measure) you can deliver even more work to your boss.

You’ll probably have to pay for this yourself, so let your boss know that you’re investing in your skills to benefit the company. You can say something like, “It’s certainly tough at the moment so I thought I’d see what I could do to improve my productivity.”

If the boss is making a decision on who to let go, such action may swing the balance in your favour, either for pure business reasons or because it’s psychologically and emotionally harder to let someone go who is really making an extra effort.

Typical ways to improve your productivity are to take a word course or a typing course.

It will cost you a few hundred pounds but if it helps you keep your job, it’s worth it. If you still lose your job, at least you’ve added to your skills, which can only help you get a job somewhere else.


I’m not saying these tips are foolproof but having been a boss for more than 30 years and seen three recessions, I know how it works.

Nobody wants their department or business to get smaller, but when it has to happen, the smallest of factors can influence who has to go.

With unemployment figures rising again, these tips may be all you’ve got to fight back with.

About The Author.

Keith Wymer is Managing Director of Holborn Training Ltd, which runs franchised Pitman Training centres in London and Manchester.

Keith believes Pitman Training is the place to go if you need to reskill or if you want to take an Executive PA course, legal secretary course or bookkeeping course as well as choosing from over 75 different training programmes.

Twice a victim of redundancy himself in the 1980′s, Keith knows how how devastating it can be and wrote these notes from experience.

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