As news of massive layoffs is drowning out even the fake positivity of Linkedin, I thought I would make some observations on getting laid-off.
First of all, our generation needs to move away from the assumption that we grew up with—that jobs are for life, that you only get fired if you suck at your job or if you are crooked. This was our parent’s mindset, it should not be ours. While it is never a great feeling to be told you are not needed and to be asked to clear up your desk, the worst thing you can do is to take it as a call on your significance in the greater scheme of things—you are so much more than a company-issued ID badge.
Second, it is no one’s fault really. Not the guy who is giving you your dismissal letter, not the guy who signed it, they are all cogs in the wheel of capitalism. And trust me, the other option is communism, where when they are terminating you, they are really terminating you, so this is the best you have to work with. Whatever it be, it is not your fault. And we are in a society now, where no one thinks it is yours, and the ones who do don’t matter.
There is nothing to hide in a lay-off from a career perspective. When you are asked in your next interview why you left, say “I was laid off”, that is a answer much more reassuring to hiring managers than other non-answers like “I was not challenged enough.” or “I wanted to do something different”, which makes people think “How long before this person starts feeling the same about this role?”
How do you protect yourself against a lay-off? By telling yourself, repeatedly, that there is nothing permanent about your permanent job. We are like Uber drivers on a call, only we don’t need how long the drive will take. Keep your skills upgraded, have savings to last 6 months of no work, always be prepared for an interview even when you have a job, have a resume current, and always be open for conversations with recruiters even if you have no intention of leaving your current place of employment. Those recruiters are going to be your first contacts when you lose your job.
Keep your desk clean at work, don’t have anything that won’t fit in a box when you have to carry it out, don’t react at all when they give you the letter, no anger, no tears no “Please don’t do this”, remember this is not people you are dealing with, but a system, and once they give you your letter, go home, sleep it out, do not do anything for 48 hours. Let the emotion drain right out.
Finally, a layoff is a good time to ask yourself questions. Often the inertia of motion of a regular job prevents us from asking the question of whether we are happy doing what we are doing. And remember, always remember, just because they took the role away, doesn’t mean the actor has to die with it.