I thought to start the new year with a bang, flourish and flutter, but landed with a thud, thup, thup, flup. The news of these massive layoffs and suffering people made me sad. Losing your job can be a difficult and stressful experience. It is natural to feel various emotions, including but not limited to WTF, why me, why now? But we are Ducks. We row furiously below the surface and stay calm above water. Here are the Duck rules that may help you flutter with a layoff:
- The Good player rule: Remember that a good player cannot become bad overnight. Remember you were hired for this role by screening 250 resumes, down to 20 shortlist, 3 finalists, and then you were the chosen 1! So if you were good enough then, you are good enough now and will be good enough in the future.
- The Defense Mechanism: layoffs generally have no bearing on your competency, and the recruiters know it. Global restructuring and cost-cutting are beyond you as an individual. Recruiters know that too. So don’t get defensive at an interview, and don’t get all apologetic about it; in fact, you have nothing to be fearful of, don’t take it personally.
- The Role Identity paradox: separate the role from the identity. What was laid off was the role you are paid to execute. The person in you is different from the job that you do. Separate these identities at all times in your career. Focus on things you can control, such as updating your resume and looking for new job opportunities. Remember that a layoff does not reflect your worth.
- The Sunshine principle: Don’t go into a cave; emerge into the sunshine! If you are an introvert, don’t recoil back into the darkness of your bedroom and shut off from the world. Don’t accuse yourself or put yourself in the defendant’s box. Go out there and feel the sun, physically and metaphorically. Maintain your professional network and stay in touch with colleagues and industry contacts. They can provide you with valuable information and support during your job search.
- The Shit Futility law: anything or anyone or any situation cannot and should not affect you beyond a point in time. Have a cut-off limit to feel shitty about the situation. Self-pity is infectious, contagious, and at times, “un-emergable”. I’ll give it a week or three days and then snap out. Get out of the house, go to a mall do some retail therapy instead of sitting at home to binge-watch Severance!
- The Subscription Protocol: Let go of subscriptions you don’t need, literally and metaphorically. Use this time as an opportunity to reassess finances, plot them against your career goals and consider making a change. If money was not a constraint, even if you get another job, will it make you happy? Were you happy in your last job? If not, could you find out why not and what will be different in the next job?
I could go on to write a book on coping mechanisms. But as I have always maintained, do what works best for you. WW: whatever works. Whatever floats your boat. And don’t get pissed off at people trying to sound consolatory. Could you tell them what T1000 said?
Or watch Jerry Macguire instead. It has some really inspirational moments. If none of the above tickle your fancy, please consider joining me this Friday on LinkedIn live, where I talk about these coping mechanisms in detail. And if you haven’t, subscribe to BasTalk, a podcast about life at work! And if you really liked this article, could you repost this?
It will be a better year. Just duck it!