Layoffs – How to Navigate the Threat of One

It’s easy to say that within the past few years, the majority of the population has been affected by mass layoffs in one way or another. Whether you’ve been asked to pack your bags or you’ve seen how losing a job has adversely affected a friend or family member, it’s a tough situation to handle.

A few weeks ago I was in the midst of the layoff pandemonium as I watched coworkers clean off their desks and begin a frantic search for employment elsewhere. While I wasn’t the one laid off, I immediately went into panic mode, revamping my resume and crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t be blindsided sometime in the near future.

Then, after calming down a bit, I found myself hysterical again when another coworker filled me in on gossip she had heard around the office about more cutbacks. For me, and for most people dealing with this situation, it’s an adrenaline-filled roller coaster of emotion.

Since the layoff epidemic has been so widespread, there are often whispers of cut backs ahead of time — which can be helpful or hurtful depending on how you look at it.

If you’re in the midst of dealing with a lack of job security, here are a few ways you can navigate the situation without losing your sanity.

1. Don’t get bogged down by gossip

Unless it comes straight from a source that is knowledgeable on the subject, try to not listen or add to the gossip. Office chatter can easily turn in to a game of telephone, and the end message is generally never even close to the truth.

Gossip also plants seeds of fear, an emotion that can be all-consuming if you let it. Stick to the facts and react to situations as they come up — this will allow you to hold on to your peace of mind instead of being swept up in things that haven’t even happened yet.

2. Check in with yourself

Sometimes we let others determine our fate instead of taking the time to do it ourselves.

Are you happy at your job? Are there other paths you’d rather explore but never felt like giving up your job security?

If you aren’t entirely happy with where you are, this may just be the universe’s way of pushing you to look elsewhere. Explore your options and see if it might be time to move on to something else.

3. Get your finances in order

If layoffs are imminent, being financially prepared can make the situation less stressful and much more manageable.

Cut back on expenses where possible and start building up your savings to cover future months of unemployment. Being proactive to prepare yourself can put you in a much better place mentally to handle the change and eventually find another job.

4. Put your feelers out

Start to look at what jobs are available in your area of expertise and amp up your resume.

You may be fretting over the possibility of a layoff, but the fact is, you already have a job and it’s far easier to find a new job when you already have one. Part of this is because you are more apt to proceed logically and not do things out of sheer desperation.

Create the foundation now for finding fulfilling work in the future and, more importantly, get excited about the possibilities.

5. Stay positive and keep it in perspective

This likely isn’t the first job you’ve had, nor is it the last job you’ll ever have again. Regardless of what happens, there is always a solution.

Detach yourself from the possible outcomes and remind yourself that the majority of the things that we worry about have an ending that’s better than we anticipated. The end result may not look the way you imagined, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the very best thing for you.

In addition, staying positive and open to the possibilities will allow you to bounce back from any hardship you face much faster than if you dwell in the negativity of the situation.

6. Know that you’re in control

Despite how the situation may appear in this moment, you are always in control of your own experience because you are in control of your reaction to anything that is happening around you.

We have go-to emotions when it comes to dealing with these types of situations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t shift these to something that feels better. Because, the truth is, we should always be making shifts to a better feeling emotion — that is how we can begin to create positive changes in our lives.

Have you been laid off or been witness to someone else’s lack of employment? How did you handle it?

Kayla Albert spent two years plugging away as a freelance writer before taking a job as a community manager for a local newspaper. She enjoys writing about productivity and personal growth topics. You can also find her at


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