How to avoid getting laid off

Don't be emotionally unattractive.   

That's right, be part of the solution (recovery) instead of identifying with the problem (recession).  If you think that layoffs are corporate roulette, where anyone can get whacked — you are dead wrong.  Layoffs are done by emotional people, not computers. They are often like a prison riot on steriods: All debts get settled. 

When you whine, wring your hands and commiserate about how bad things are, you are raising your hand as if to say, "pick me for the next big layoff!"

Believe it or not, the #1 factor influencing layoffs is your attitude/vibe/outlook.  There is not, as of yet, good behavioral data on this round of layoffs, but the last recession offers some great insight.  In 2003, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas surveyed companies that underwent massive reductions in force.  Based on feedback from managers and executives, the study concluded that "people that are not liked by someone in authority are always the first to go when business conditions become unfavorable. It's not enough to do a good job. You have to find ways to incorporate your likeability factors in the eyes of your employer." 

This doesn't mean that you should play golf with your boss or bring her an apple on Monday.  It's harder than that over time.  In my book, The Likeability Factor, I defined likeability as "the ability to consistently create positive emotional experiences."  When you make others feel good, they typically reciprocate by liking you.  

These days are trying.  You company may be changing some rules at work to cut corners or squeeze out incremental productivity.  DO NOT react selfishly to these changes.  "What about me?" will get you canned quick and slow.  If you don't like your job, then quit.  If you like it, pick a good attitude. 

Don't be Chicken Little, announcing all the bad news.  Take your smile to work, especially to co-workers.  When you get criticism, take it like an adult.  All of these responses will keep you off 'the list' when it comes time to trim back the forces at work (should a bear market resume.) 

To measure your current L Factor, take this assessment (or have someone fill out the assessment on you):  The L Factor Assessment