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Layoffs: Can you See the Writing on the Wall?

Pamela Norman
December 18, 2020

If you’ve ever been laid off, you know what it’s like to have to go through the mental and financial burden that accompanies losing your job. Even with unemployment assistance and severance packages, I think we’d all agree that getting laid off isn’t very fun at all. Mass layoffs are nothing new and in the wake of today’s current economic climate, we’re hearing about them more and more. Most companies will give their workers some advanced warning to help prepare them for their exit from the company. With three to six months or more to figure out your next career steps, you could easily be employed (or well on your way) by the time your current position comes to an end.

As nice as this advanced warning sounds, not all employers are as generous with their layoff lead times, especially if it’s a small, privately-held company. There’s a big difference between being told that you’ll be losing your job in 3 months and being told that you’ll be losing your job in 3 seconds. I made that mistake a few years ago and learned a very important lesson the hard way.

Your job is NEVER EVER safe.

I don’t care who you are and what you do. I don’t care how important you are to your company and how many people it would take to replace you. We’re ALL expendable. If you think that you’re bulletproof (as I once did), let me be the first to tell you that you’re blinding yourself from your vulnerabilities on the job. I’m not trying to scare you, but it’s simply a fact that most of us work “at-will” meaning we can leave our jobs or lose our jobs at a moment’s notice. If you think you have job security, employers can and will find loopholes to eliminate your position. I’m not saying that we’re all going to get laid off soon. In fact, you may go your entire life without losing your job (lucky you!). But I think it’s foolish to assume that you’re safe at your job and not have a contingency plan in case the unexpected happens. If you aren’t prepared for job loss, you’ll find that not having a job is just the start of your stress as you scramble to get your life back on track as soon as possible

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