How Do I Deal With Layoff Anxiety? 💪

It’s been stressful hearing about all of the layoffs in the news. Amazon, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and many more, all announced massive layoffs recently. People who worked over 15 years were deactivated from their company accounts and sent packing. Layoffs can make those affected feel like they’ve failed, been betrayed, and a myriad of other emotions. On the other side, those who still have jobs likely feel anxious and fearful about their futures. Here’s how to deal with the anxiety of layoffs and to prep for your next job.

If you just got laid off…

1. Rip Off the Bandaid 🩹

During this time, make sure to tell your family and friends ASAP. Do not wait to tell your significant other, as it impacts them just as much as it does you. There is no shame in being laid off. Unfortunately, you are often just seen as a number - this can feel dehumanizing, but it can also be useful in helping you understand that it’s not your fault.

2. Give Yourself a Breather 🧘

Take a walk, a bath, or go to the spa. It might seem like a bad time to spend money, but I promise, taking some time for yourself to unwind will help you get through this time. Avoid worrying about all the things you could have done differently, or scouring the web for more news about layoffs. Take your mind off the issue.

3. Recount Your Worth 👏

Once you’re feeling up to it, regroup with other friends who have been affected or those who can help you get on your feet and find a new job. Join job seeker’s support groups, especially ones with employees of your previous company. Take a look at your resume/Linkedin and see if it needs any updating. Remind yourself that you have value and bring something to the table.

4. Get Your Finances in Order 💸

First things first - sign up for unemployment with the government so you have some cash coming in! Besides that, how many months of cash do you have to cover your expenses, including severance and the unemployment check? You should have at least 2-3 months to help you find a new job. If the checks aren’t covering your expenses, it’s either time to buckle down, or, worst case scenario, take out a loan to cover you while you’re unemployed. It may be enticing to just use your credit card for expenses, but 1. it’s tough to pay rent on a credit card, and 2. the interest rates are the highest in the industry. Check out your local credit union for lower interest alternatives or even cash spots.

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If you’re afraid of being laid off…

1. Don’t Give Into Thought Distortions 🚫

We often have thought distortions (lies we tell ourselves), that make us paranoid that we are about to get fired. We read into every email our boss sends us, or whether they’re talking to us differently. Trying to guess what will happen will only serve to heighten your anxiety. However, here are some real signs that things might be amiss:

  • Your manager is asking you to save costs
  • Your department is consistently underperforming
  • You’re not getting as many projects as usual
  • You’re being pushed out of meetings you were previously in

If any of these things are happening on a consistent basis, it might be time for a change.

2. Take Action 🏃

Taking action might mean finding a new job, but it could also mean moving yourself into higher value projects. Look at your current role - are your projects high-value? Do they generate significant revenue for the company? Do senior leadership talk about how important these projects are? If you answered “no” to these questions, ask your boss to get moved to another project or area of the business that is a bigger priority. If they won’t budget, then it may make sense to look for a new gig. In the meantime, start reconnecting with folks at companies you admire or building a support network.

3. Contingency Plan 📝

What’s the worst case scenario of you get laid off? Assess your current financial situation and see how much cash you have to cover you, and for how long. Develop a financial plan that takes into account how many months you expect to be unemployed, cash coming in from unemployment, plus your ongoing expenses. See which areas of expenses you will be able to cut if you do find yourself without a job.

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