Over the past several weeks I’ve heard from three people who each, after 20-30 years of loyal service to their company or hospital, received a layoff notice.
Jeff Pfeffer, one of my favorite professors when I was in the MBA program at Stanford, has written extensively about layoffs – including what have recently been called “copycat layoffs” – companies executing layoffs because, well, if others are doing it then it must be a smart thing to do.
In most cases, Pfeffer’s research shows, layoffs are anything but smart. They do not reduce costs, increase productivity, or enhance competitive advantage. They do increase anxiety and lower morale for workers who have not (yet) been laid off.
But that’s not why I bring it up in this post. Pfeffer’s research also documents the baleful impact of being laid off on the individual worker who has lost a job. They experience increased anxiety and depression among other things.
For anyone who has been knocked flat by life, I have this advice.
First, as long as you’re looking up anyway take some time to enjoy the sky. Watching the clouds rearrange themselves might give you some ideas about how you can rearrange yourself. Waiting for the stars to come out might give you the faith that your own stars will emerge.
Second, before you get up and start running again, think about whether it’s time to change your path. If you’ve been laid off or fired from a job, is that perhaps a message from the universe that you were put on this earth to do something different?
In 2013, I self-published the book Staying on Top When Your World’s Upside Down. It’s filled with lots of great ideas and practices for what I call Personal CPR – Courage, Perseverance, and Resilience.
Each of the 101 short chapters is introduced by an excerpt from a book written by one of the 101 people I think of as my co-authors because they each have something important to say about coping with, and emerging stronger from, having been knocked flat.
If you or someone you care for has been knocked flat on their back, please download this free eBook and share it with them.