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.)
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!)