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Layoffs can take their toll on workplace survivors, too

By Megan K. Scott

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 2 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Show your boss: Do work that matters, says Stuart Sidle, director of Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduate Program at University of New Haven in West Haven, Conn. Writing reports that no one reads is a warning sign that you may be in the next round, he says.

"To reduce this risk of irrelevance, become an expert on organizational tasks that are crucial that most people are too lazy or disinterested to learn," says Sidle.

Facella suggests coming up with three to five specific areas where former employees' tasks were inefficient or redundant and presenting a plan to streamline the processes. He also advises submitting a report of cost-cutting proposals.

Try to maintain a positive attitude, say career experts. Take on new tasks cheerfully, and work to be a top performer.

Look for another job: Layoffs are a warning sign that more may be coming, says Sidle.

Make sure you are networking. Relationships outside of the office are sometimes more critical than the actual work, says Brody. Most people find opportunities through connections, as opposed to resumes on career sites, says Facella.

If you wish you had been laid off — you wanted the early retirement — talk to someone in human resources, says Barr, but emphasize that you are committed to the organization.

He suggests thinking about what you would be doing if you were retired and seeing if you can start doing some of those things now. He says people often romanticize retirement.

Take care of yourself: Make sure you are exercising and eating right, says Sidle. Exercise can be an antidepressant and stress reliever.

Lean on your support system, says Barr. Focus on things outside of work that you like to do.

Seek help if your anxiety manifests into physical symptoms, such as a change in sleeping and eating patterns, says Barr.

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