I have been fortunate to work with some great companies that fell on hard times. Here is how I have handled this experience of being laid off.
The first thing when you are being let go is to ask if it was for financial or performance reasons. Sometimes they don’t tell you. However, if you are friends with someone in HR or close to the decision maker you can find the truth.
HR or your boss always says this isn’t personal, but it is due to economic reality. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, but you find yourself the first time this happens in fear and anxiety. What will happen to the friendships you have with people at work? What will happen to pay the bills? What will happen to my daily routine?
All of these thoughts and more will pop into your heart. It’s okay to feel anxious if you do and to accept that this is happening. Once you have more time to process this you will go through the 5 stages of loss. If you are lucky you might get outplacement help, or even a severance package or unemployment payments.
Often, however, the writing was on the wall. When a company starts to not hire people, and then people start to leave, and other people are let go, you learn that the company is having financial issues. It really shouldn’t be a surprise by the time there are mass layoffs. Of course, you can always try to say to yourself that you are irreplaceable, and in one sense that is true. There is no one like you. However, businesses don’t care about who you are as a person, just how you can contribute to their bottom line. The best people in humanity would have been laid off, and some of them were killed for being great people.
So in time, you learn that being let go due to downsizing and non-performance-related factors, while it feels personal, is not personal. You see people reacting and making these decisions more due to their relationship with them-self, than reflecting your value and worth as a person. The last time I was downsized of course the change needed a few hours to accept, but once I accepted it, I have been happy.
Laid off and happy? Are you crazy? Perhaps. I don’t deny that change is work, but I want to grow and live and enjoy life. If that means that I have to change my routine, my certainty, and my life a little bit, that is ok. Life is more than a job, and always in my life when one door closes a better door opens. It is ok if you are not at this stage, or never believe this. This is my value, not yours. It is just one possible point of view if you have been let go. You are now free to chase a better life! See you out there.