4 of 6
BACKNEXT
DO feel your boss's pain. If you feel as if you're being marginalized, talk with your manager and find out what his or her priorities are these days. Ask your boss, "What are your biggest goals right now, and how can I help?"

DON'T be high maintenance. Even if layoffs are necessary, they can also serve as an excuse for companies to fire people they wanted to get rid of anyway. Why? The most frequent issue is attitude: People who are demanding, difficult, or whiny, or otherwise take up too much of their manager's energy, are the first to go.

If you need something from your boss, there's a right and a wrong way to ask. "Use the magic phrase, 'I really want to make this work,'" suggests Deborah Brown-Volkman, a career coach who specializes in counseling financial services professionals. Be clear you're committed to finding a solution that helps the company. "The worst approach is 'I don't have this, I don't have that,'" Brown-Volkman says. Instead, show how your business will benefit from a fix. If you can't, then let it go. And always be ready with a solution or two.

The bottom line: Make your boss's job easier, not harder.

Last updated January 22 2009: 7:02 AM ET
They're hiring! As many big companies are announcing mass layoffs, these 20 top employers have at least 350 openings each right now. Which Best Companies to Work For are doing the most recruiting and what kind of candidates are they looking for? More
Get that job! Five hiring managers tell you how to land a job with one of Fortune's Best Companies to Work For. More
Top 100 There's a new no. 1 this year, as Google slips to no. 4. Which companies are going out of their way -- even in this economy -- to please employees? More