How to survive layoffs


You’re name has been chosen in the reaping. Good luck in the office arena.

It’s that time of year! Layoff season. Companies are reevaluating their budgets and cutting down on costs. If you’ve ever experienced layoffs at your office, you know how tense these times can be. If not, let me break it down for you.

Working at a company going through layoffs is similar to being a tribute in The Hunger Games. Your name is drawn, along with a number of others, to participate in a fight to the finish. You are all thrown into an arena (your office) and need to come up with a strategy to win using your strengths and intelligence. It’s kill or be killed, people.

The project I’m working with went through layoffs just three months after I joined. Three months! While losing a job isn’t the same as dying, the possibility of it is still stressful. I wouldn’t wish being fired upon anyone, so it was hard to be in an environment where everyone, including me, was worried about it.

If you find yourself thrown into a layoff arena, there’s not a whole lot you can do. But hopefully these tips will help ease your pain.

Be open with your boss

If you know your company or department is making cuts, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your boss. The fact that you know something about it means it’s not a secret. Rather than trying to avoid the topic, be the one to bring it up with your manager. If you have regular one-on-one meetings, approach the topic there. If not, take initiative to set a meeting up. Worst case scenario: Your boss will tell you she doesn’t know anything or that it’s confidential. Best case scenario: You’ll be told the cuts won’t affect you.

Try to ignore rumors

If the jobs of a majority of your office mates are on the line, you can plan on everyone talking about it. Rumors are bound to start, and the best thing you can do is ignore them. You have no way to know whether what you’re hearing is a fact or some crazy conspiracy theory. Instead of get stressed about things that likely aren’t true, ignore what co-workers are saying and wait for announcements from the higher-ups.

Stay focused on work

Unlike The Hunger Games, there’s not much you can do about layoffs. You can’t run around slaying all of the competition, but you can prove that your’e worth keeping by staying on top of your game. Focusing on your assignments only results in good things. It allows you to continue producing quality work. It keeps your mind off of the stressful situation you’re in. It forces you to maintain a routine. These are all things that will help you stay sane and hopefully keep your job.

Talk to a co-worker

If you are stressing out about the possibility of being fired, talk to a co-worker you feel comfortable with. You should try to ignore rumors, but layoffs aren’t “that which shall not be named.” It’s alright to bring up your concerns with someone you trust. Just talking about what’s happening with someone going through the same thing can help reduce your stress.

Look for other options

It doesn’t hurt to prepare for the worst. Vamp up your resume, grease those networking gears and get back out there! If you do end up losing your job, at least you’ll have a head start on finding something new.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

Now to completely switch references. Whatever happens, just remember: You’re good enough. You’re smart enough. And doggone it; people like you!

Saturday Night Live

Stuart Smalley, Saturday Night Live

Has your office gone through layoffs? What advice would you give?


One thought on “How to survive layoffs

  1. The “corporate job” model has failed and has been failing for a long, long time and is not going to create you any significant wealth working for “the man”. The world economy is not the same as it was even a decade ago, its evolved and is evolving and a lot of people are missing the boat on other great opportunities, still stuck in their “job” mentality. You have to think outside the box and make money on the side and create wealth on your own so you can enjoy life and do the things you want to do.

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