A survey of 836 United States companies released in September by the New York-based American Management Association found that one in four of them planned layoffs by June of this year.

In government, the news is also grim. When President Bush proposed increasing 1993 science spending by 6.5 percent, Congress slashed it to a paltry 2.3 percent, paralyzing budgets at many agencies. And President-elect Bill Clinton's focus on technologies that meet social needs more immediately than does basic research will affect academia in the form of altered funding priorities.

To a scientist, a layoff may seem to come out of the blue. Still, researchers can plan ahead to avoid this fate, or to deal with it and get back on the career track as quickly and painlessly as possible, job-placement experts agree.

First, The Good News Even though layoffs are sometimes inevitable, retaining scientists is a very high priority at...

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