Do you ever have those times when your gut is telling you to do something but you keep second guessing it? It would be nice to get some validation when these situations arise, wouldn’t it? I can assure you, I am still second guessing myself when it comes to this site, but this is a personal project I want to see through. I truly believe there’s an audience that can benefit from this space at one point or another in their career.
As a way to sense check my gut, I’ve been doing searches on various sites for “layoffs” and “laid off” to gauge what kind of discussions are happening in the public domain. More often than not, I come across a smattering of posts and articles with a handful of likes and comments, but rarely anything that generated much discussion. Taking that at face value, a normal person would probably stop and abandon a project like this, but not me. Ha!
Imagine my surprise when I saw a viral post on LinkedIn about…layoffs. The post was penned by a gentleman named Greg Roche this past November and it has received over 12k likes and more than 700 comments! Many of the comments were from others that have been recently laid off and I took that as validation I’m on the right track – and as validation I am not alone. It’s obvious people want to talk about what they’re going through, but they often don’t feel comfortable opening up.
Now, I don’t know Greg personally or professionally but that didn’t stop me from reaching out to him to connect. We chatted on the phone about his experience and I shared my goals for this project with him. Since he’s also part of the “two-timers” (as in laid off twice) club, I asked him if he would be open to a Q&A about his experiences with layoffs and/or participating in the discussions. He said yes to both. Excellent!
I find it helpful to read/hear real life stories so I’m planning to roll out a number of Q&A pieces as I get in touch with folks willing to offer their perspectives on layoffs. Following is a glimpse into Greg’s thinking when it came to his LinkedIn post.
Q. What drove you to do the initial post on LinkedIn on your last day, your birthday?
The morning of my last day, which was also my birthday, I received a text from a friend of mine that said “Happy Birthday.” I wrote back, “They gave me a package at work for my birthday: A severance package.” My friend said, “That would be a good post for LinkedIn.” The text was the inspiration, but as I started writing, the post became a story about working until your last day and then moving on with your head held high. This was the second time I had been laid off, and the first time, I worked until the end. On my last day, the boss who had let me go came and thanked me for my hard work and actually increased my severance package amount because of the effort. While that didn’t happen the second time, I learned good things come when you give it your best effort even if you want to walk out the door and let your boss figure out how to live without you.
Q. This post drove a massive response and hit on a nerve with the LinkedIn audience. What do you think was so unusual about what you said?
It hit a nerve because many people have been laid off and have felt the same emotions. We’ve all seen viral videos of people who got fired and sent the “F-off” message to their employer. We’ve all seen the crazy “Screw you” emails people have sent to their bosses. We can sympathize with the scene from Jerry Maguire where he makes a speech as he walks out the door. But we all know that’s not what you do in the real world. In the scene in Jerry Maguire, he takes a couple of gold fish out of the tank and says, “I’m taking these fish because they have integrity.” We all want to feel like we have integrity and we know that doing something crazy when we leave doesn’t show integrity. Writing that I sucked it up and kept going to work until the last day was the opposite of what everyone sees online and in the movies. Even though that’s what we all want to do, we know what the right thing to do is and when someone says it’s ok to do the right thing, it resonates with people.
Q. Before you posted, did you think about how you would be perceived?
I didn’t think there was anything negative in the post and wasn’t worried about getting any negative reaction. I couldn’t see how anything I wrote would be a problem for any future employer. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read it. I’ve posted before on LinkedIn and written articles, but none of them have reached a broad audience. I believed my friends and colleagues might see it and say, “Yep, that sounds like something Greg would do,” and that would be it. I was surprised so many people wrote they had also lost their jobs on their birthdays. It was also comforting to know that many other people have been laid off before and most of the people who commented said being laid off was one of the best things that ever happened to them.
Q. Did you post anything similar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.?
No, I only posted this story on LI. I have accounts on other social sites, but I can’t get into them as much. LinkedIn’s new, longer posting format is one that works for me. I’m more of a writer than a person who posts pictures and the topics I write about appeal more to the LinkedIn audience.
We covered a lot in our Q&A and Greg has more to say than what you’re seeing here. It’s too much for one post but we’ll include the entirety of his Q&A in future posts. Don’t forget to follow us on social or sign up for updates in the footer!
|About Greg Roche:
Greg has led Compensation and Benefits teams in companies large and small, public and private. He can build the foundations of these departments or shake up the ones already in place. When he’s not questioning the HR status quo, he is building a diversified portfolio of side businesses.
Have you shared your layoff story or situation with anyone on social media? If so, what kind of response did you get from what you shared? If not, feel free to share your story with us. That’s why we’re here! We would love to get your feedback/thoughts in the comments below…