‘At Risk’​ – Are You Ready?

by | January 13, 2018

2 weeks into what’s going to be an unpredictable year and I’ve already had several calls with people who have been put ‘at risk’ and need to quickly weigh up their options. Should they stay with their organisation in another internal role that becomes available? Or should they take the money and a big leap of faith into the unknown?

Whether you’re in this situation yourself or a manager who wants to support your team through it, here’s my advice for dealing with being put ‘at risk’ calmly and reaching a decision that’s right for you…

Have The Basics In Place 

Avoid unnecessary stress by being prepared in advance. Keep your CV ready and up to date. Refresh your LinkedIn profile on a regular basis. Have a 30 second personal introduction worked out that clearly articulates who you are / what you do / what you contribute in your current role so that you make a positive impression when making new contacts. Know the good recruitment agencies for your industry. All of these things mean that if the situation arises, you’re not wasting time starting from scratch.

Keep a cool head

And ask yourself some practical questions:

  • How long would it take your household to save the equivalent of what’s being offered in a severance package?
  • How many months will you be able live off that severance package at your current spending levels? What if you were spending  20% less?
  • Within that time frame, on a scale of 1-10 how confident are you that you can get another job / create an income stream that will cover your existing monthly outgoings?

Separate Myth From Reality

Don’t make assumptions about what is / isn’t out there in the marketplace that may cloud your judgment and limit your potential options.

“I’ll never find another company that gives me the flexibility/money/subsidised gym membership that I get here….” Really? How do you know that for sure? When did you last check? And what else might be on offer elsewhere that you haven’t even considered? Do your research.

Find Yourself An Objective Sounding Board

Friends, family, work colleagues, spouses will all have a view about what you should do next. (And some will be less neutral than others!) It can be over whelming taking in all the ideas, suggestions on offer. It’s usually very well intended but sometimes too much ‘advice’ can get in the way of you reaching your own decision about what’s right for you in the next stage of your career. Find a trusted, objective sounding board with whom you can weigh up your options, test your ideas and plan your next steps. If you don’t already have a mentor or coach, now is a good time to find one.


Don’t get side tracked considering every role that is available. List your criteria – location, commute time, industry, minimum salary, key role responsibilities etc and place a weighting on each of these criteria too. This means you can quickly compare various roles and shut down options that don’t match your needs. Your time, energy and effort is precious during this time period. Invest it wisely.

Keep Some Perspective

Shrink the scale of the  decision you’re about to make. You may well have been with your existing company for 18 years but you’re not being asked to make the same commitment in this next step! Whatever options you’re weighing up, do you feel comfortable the decision you’re making now will be right for the next 18 months?

Be A Good Advert For Yourself

Finally, it’s quite possible that future opportunities will come from your existing network. So make sure they are seeing the best version of you at this time. Even if you think the decision to put your role at risk is completely bonkers, don’t get caught in the trap of bad mouthing your organisation and/or the way things have been handled. Be positive. Act with integrity. And above all keep calm. This really will not be the end of the world.

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