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How to Get Laid Off

A farewell package is no guarantee when handed a pink slip, but according to a new survey this month by Institute for Corporate Productivity, 60% of companies offer severance to all workers who are let go.

Now that talk of layoffs is abound at corporate giants such as Time Inc (STOCK QUOTE: TWX), Fidelity (STOCK QUOTE: FIS), eBay (STOCK QUOTE: EBAY), Motorola (STOCK QUOTE: MOT) and Lehman Brothers (STOCK QUOTE: LEH), as well as at smaller businesses, worker anxiety is undoubtedly up. If there are murmurs of downsizing at your company, it is possible to work the system and get laid off. It might sound strange, but a severance package might help you get closure at a struggling company, and buy you some time to look for better work. Let’s not forget - severance deals sometimes include extended health care benefits and weeks, months, maybe even a couple years of pay, depending largely on seniority and rank. And those in the first round of layoffs are more likely to get the fattest parting gifts.

Here are our seven best strategies for getting laid off. MainStreet consulted Kevin Nalts, a video creator who garnered Internet acclaim after creating a viral video about, well, how to get laid off.

1. Do a Preemptive Strike.
Make an appointment with your human resources director – not your boss – and express privately that you would like to voluntarily give up your job in the event of a layoff. Don’t do this until you’re sure your company offers severance pay. Otherwise you’re just asking to be let go with no benefits. That said, this strategy doesn’t always work, considering some lay-offs are department-specific or based on bloated salaries. But at the least, a meeting with HR may give you more of an idea of where you stand in the event of a layoff.

If that fails to do the trick, consider these other, less formal tactics for getting laid off.

2. Select Short-Term Projects Only.
Make it appear the company’s growth is not dependent on your long-term projects. A statement such as "most of my key projects are almost complete in the next month or so" might come in handy at the next group meeting. While at said meeting, never mention the future of the company or your division. When people discuss it, give puzzled looks, says Nalts.

3. Identify a Backfill.

Nurture someone less expensive to do your job and make it clear to your higher-ups that this clever, young talent is invaluable (and quite cheap, relatively speaking).

4. Dress Down.
Why just casual Fridays? Wrinkled shirts are key, says Nalts. Leave half hanging out of your pants.

5. Partake in Ad Hoc Commentary.
Occasionally say something genius, but totally unrelated to the subject of the meeting. For example, during a budget meeting or while at the water cooler with your boss, throw out a great quote from the famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. My personal favorite: “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.” Or, “Egoism is the very essence of a noble soul.” Huh?

6. Work Hard in the Wrong Areas.
Don’t forget that getting fired means no severance, says Nalts. Getting laid off means you're not critical, but not worthy of firing. So, appear to work hard but in the wrong areas. If you get redirected or put on a performance program, pretend to work long hours in a desperate desire to save your job.

7. Waste Your Boss’s Time.

Don't aggressively piss off your boss; just make sure you're the most high maintenance and lowest productive employee. A great way to do this is by constantly forwarding him or her relevant news stories or surveys related to your industry, and asking how you can improve without actually implementing the suggestions.

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