Are You Ready to be Laidoff Over The Holidays?

If you track layoff announcements, like I do, you’ll see that there are plenty of people getting canned right now.  Being laid off on Halloween? Not a big deal.  Being laid off over Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and whatever other holidays you celebrate between now and end of January?  That’s a big deal.

It’s an expensive time of the year for some. There are social expectations, whether it is gift giving or out-of-state travel, office parties (new clothes, of course) or feeding a bunch of people for The Annual Dinner. It’s also an emotionally expensive time, where you are expected to go to a lot of end-of-year parties and functions… all of which have some cost associated with them.

For many, it’s a depressing time of year (are you kidding me?  Seasonal Affective Disorder, with an acronym of SAD?  Even the acronym makes me depressed 🙁 .

And then, sometime in October, you get a lay-off notice, like the 300+ people at Twitter. You can read the Twitter lay-off letter from the president here. Here are some yucky details about layoff terms for the massive HP layoff (which one?).  Or on you can see information about layoffs at safe companies… companies that you didn’t think would do that, here.  But don’t worry about reading the Twitter layoff letter, or any layoff letter.  I’ve summarized ALL layoff letters for you, below.  As you read this letter, I want you to ask yourself: ARE YOU READY FOR A LAYOFF?  If NOT, WHAT CAN YOU DO RIGHT NOW? (my answer below the letter)

Dear Team,

As you know, we have had an interesting year. Moving forward [am I going to lose my job??] blah blah [I’m going to lose my job!] blah blah [what if I get to stay?] this is the right decision blah [how am I going to pay my mortgage in two months!] blah blah [I really should have started that rainy day savings account!] this will make us stronger as a company [this makes me weaker as a breadwinner!] blah blah [I can’t afford this right now] blah blah [I have no idea where my resume is!] blah blah…. etc. etc. etc.

Get the point?

It doesn’t matter what the letter says. It doesn’t matter how good this is for the company, or how hard this is for the president to make this decision. You are not OUT.  FINISHED. DONE.  MOVE ON!

No letter helps, unless it says something like “you will continue to get your regular salary for the next 12 months to help you transition…” and I haven’t seen that from a layoff, except for from very senior employees who have been at the company forever… but more and more, the general rule is you maybe get a few weeks of severance… and that’s it.


What can you do right now?

Realize that your personal income is (for most of us) being given to us by one company.  And that company can, at their whim, cut off 100% of our income.  If this happened to many of us right now, we would be in a world of hurt.  Bankruptcy, lost homes, bank fees, ruined credit, ruined marriages, homelessness, depression, etc.  I’m not trying to be Chicken Little, but folks, I’VE SEEN THIS over the last 9+ years!

The good news is that you can make it through the layoff.  Something better, just as good, or simply good enough is out there for you.  But let me urge you to START RIGHT NOW.

Network, RIGHT NOW.  Today.  Go to lunch with someone.  And do the same next week.  Build your network wider, and deeper.  Build individual relationships.  You could read some excellent books on networking, but if you aren’t going to, then re-read this paragraph.

Work on your personal brand, RIGHT NOW.  They used to say “it’s who you know.” Then they said “It’s who knows you.” Then they modified it to say “It’s who knows you, and what they know about you.”  That’s right.  You need people to know, and think about you.  They need to know about your awesomeness, and why their company could use your services. Maybe not for today, or next week, or next month, or next year, but when you need them, and they need you, you want to have already done all of the personal branding work!

You combine your networking with your personal branding, and marry it to the concept of the “hidden job market,” and you are way, way ahead of others.

How do you do this?

Definitely use JibberJobber as a networking tool. Use LinkedIn posts, maybe even a blog, or LinkedIn Groups, for your branding.  Go to networking events.  Follow-up with people, and nurture relationships, and go deeper and deeper with them.

Whether you get a pink slip or not, you’ll be empowered.  You’ll FEEL empowered.  And when you are empowered, the pink slip has much less of an impact on you.

I have seen this happen. One of my favorite JibberJobber users is in a situation that most of my audience, when I speak, is in.  He’s an older gentleman, with plenty of awesomeness (talents, skills, etc.).  But simply by being older, he is prime material for age discrimination.  But he’s been using JibberJobber for years, and he GETS networking, and people know who he is (because HE knows who he is, and can communicate that). When he has faced transitions over the last eight or so years, he has always, every time, had an easy transition.  Because he has worked on his network and his branding.

This, my friends, is THE NEW job security.

Are you ready?