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Layoffs: Who Thinks They Suck?

Layoffs: Who thinks they suck? Show of hands...

Arghhh… It’s happening. Layoffs are hitting your company and depending on where you’re sitting at the end of it, you may be considered the “lucky” one.  Strangely, you may be considered “lucky” if your job is being eliminated. You won’t have to schlep into work each day and deal with the aftermath. If you still have a job, you could be viewed as “lucky” as you’re still getting a paycheck. And those that have to do the layoff and/or make the decision on which jobs to eliminate…you’re “lucky” in the sense you get to make the decisions. You never had to worry about your job, right? If only it were that straight forward…

The fact is, layoffs suck for pretty much everyone involved, but why is that? I can claim the “laid off” seat two times over the last three years. It’s a place I never thought I’d be a few years ago but it is my reality. Prior to being laid off, I was witness to many layoffs. I consider myself fortunate to avoid the ugliness of layoffs for a long as I did. As I reflect on the different situations and speak to others going through layoffs, the common reason people feel layoffs suck is their lack of control.

Layoffs: A Few Perspectives on Control

The Laid Off

My two layoffs fall under the “reduction in force” category due to cost-cutting measures but I’ve heard reasons such as “downsizing”, “off-shoring”, “right sizing”, etc. I had zero control over the outcome. Frustrating? Yes. Insurmountable? No, but it takes time to work through the “why me” and “was this personal” questions that naturally creep in. We all need that time to grieve what we lost and some will do it faster than others. However, what is in our control is how we work to accept the situation and move forward with our lives. It’s hard to pick yourself up after this form of rejection but we’re not the first, and sadly, we won’t be the last. (Yeah, it sucks.)

The Survivors People That Don’t Get Laid Off

For those that get to keep their job, most of them have zero say in the layoff either. Their day-to-day may be full of anxiety about their future while they take on additional work. They have to find a new normal without the co-workers they consider friends and the culture will undoubtedly be different. Some of these folks may even be happy…? (The horror!) Granted, some may be happy for selfish or personal reasons, but the upside for this group is the opportunity to take on new responsibilities – which can help with career growth. (This is why I refrain from saying layoffs suck for everyone!)

Those Who Have to Do a Layoff

Lastly, the HR professionals and managers that get the unfortunate task of doing the layoffs… They have nothing pleasant to say about this whole process. More often than not, the situation appears to be out of their control (to some degree), but if the business is to survive, they have to make the hard decisions on who to cut. What is in their control is how the organization chooses to communicate the layoff news.  What tactics were tried? How transparent was leadership that this was coming? What impact will this have on all levels? Yeah, laying people off sucks and I don’t envy the folks that have to do them. (I’d like to think no one actually enjoys disrupting people lives like this!)

Learning & Moving On from Layoffs

It’s clear layoffs are still happening and they’re still not fun for anyone. We’re bound to find ourselves in one of these situations in the coming days/weeks/months/years. How can we make the most of it and learn from these experiences?

That’s where this site come in. In order to encourage progress, we created this anonymous environment for you to share your honest thoughts about how YOU’re feeling during this layoff experience. (We’re looking inwards people, not outwards!) There is comfort in numbers and knowing someone else can relate just helps sometimes.

Why is it anonymous? Think about the ‘public face’ most of us maintain under our real name on social media sites and out in public. We all have our reasons, but most of us don’t share our raw thoughts and emotions about our professional lives with our social networks. Many may fear bias, judgement or worst of all…future employers may see it! We let this “rawness” play on a loop in our heads. This keeps us in a holding pattern until we snap out of it or feel like we’re ready to move on. Sadly, this behavior could be doing more harm than good as burying these thoughts leaves the masses none the wiser.

How will this be productive, you might ask? Well, if we’re all being honest and this is a two (err, three) way street with all sides wanting to progress, we can come together to better understand the human impact of these business decisions. Ultimately, we can use these discussions to inform the choices we make moving forward. (And that wouldn’t suck!)

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Home Forums Layoffs: Who Thinks They Suck?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Karen J 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #6802 Score: 0 | Reply

    2 pts

    thanks for talking about the lack of control being what’s frustrating. never thought about that but it’s true! i’m in the laid off group for the first time and it’s pretty difficult. no one is safe and I’ve been on the other side numerous times but never close to the people that lost their jobs. friends of mine have been laid off but I never knew how they were feeling since they didn’t really want to talk about it. being laid off is tough to process and something you can’t begin to understand until you go through it yourself.

    • #7571 Score: 0 | Reply


      Hi Anonome, we’re sorry you’ve joined the “laid off” club as it’s certainly not a place people are clamoring to be a part of. There are a lot of feelings you’re likely going through and that’s normal.

      We’re glad you’re here and taking time to talk it out with us. Hopefully it’s helping you and you’re feeling less alone. It’s a tough, rocky and somewhat dark road that isn’t the easiest to navigate but certainly post about what you’re feeling and any questions you have. At minimum, we can tell you what we experienced and offer you our two cents (as we are or have been in the trenches with you!)

      • This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by  YeahItSucks.
  • #8163 Score: 0 | Reply


    It is true that the lack of control is one of the most challenging things about layoffs, both before and after they occur. I spent much of my long career at one company always having that fear of being laid off as an unspoken “motivator” to “work harder” or act in ways that are not always healthy. It was not until it finally happened to me (after surviving multiple waves before then) that I realized it was not the end of the world and, while a blow to the ego and the wallet, it was something that can be bounced back from. It took nearly 5 months to find another role at the time and even then it involved a weekly commute for 4 days/week away from my family. The new role made me realize how dysfunctional I’d become living in fear in my old one and thankfully was in a wonderful culture that was both assertive and supportive rather than passive-aggressive or worse. A few years on and it appears that I may need to be in search mode again yet, rightly or wrongly, I am more at peace and relaxed about the situation now. In the meantime, finding a new role, losing loved ones and life changes help me to realize that while it is a sad and potentially stressful thing to be searching again, it really is not “the worst that can happen” nor the source of as many of my fears. Here’s to a bright future and fulfilling journey, whatever that may end up being.

  • #8204 Score: 0 | Reply

    1 pt

    Layoffs suck, but it always gets better! I’ve been laid off twice in my life due to the economy (dotcom crash of 2000 and the mortgage/financial crash of 2010) and each time something better came around. After the first lay off, I learned a few things: 1. to save money for a rainy day 2. learn how to be an expert in my field 3. network, network, network 4. be supportive of each other. Good luck to everyone!

  • #8239 Score: 0 | Reply

    Karen J

    I moved cross country to take a job in a .com. In 6 months I made an offer on my home and the next Monday I was called into the president’s office. He told me to get my stuff and go away until 2pm. I then received an email for a mandatory company meeting. When I returned at 2 I was then briefed that everyone except SR Management and myself had been let go. The company had been bought for the technology and our job is to begin and manage the site shutdown for our remaining clients.

    Although I was very appreciative to still have a job, it put me in an uncomfortable situation, it was a form of survivor guilt. RIFs suck no matter what side you end up on.

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