I do not know if you have noticed it or not, but lots of big organizations have been having layoffs lately. The technology sector has seemingly been hit the hardest, with large corporations announcing significant layoffs, and others hinting of layoffs to come. With so much uncertainty in the air, what are we to do?
First, I think it is important to remember something very important about our company - it is not our family. That might sound cold, and that is not my intention. We might love the company we work for, we might love the people we work with, we might even view some of our coworkers as close as our blood relatives, but our company is not our family. We might marry a spouse, but we never marry a company.
If we realize this, then we will not be shocked if one day our long-time employer tells us that our services are no longer needed. How can they do that to me? How could they just use me up and throw me out to the curb? Where is the loyalty from big corporations these days? Don’t they have a soul? How could they be so heartless! Well, our companies do not have a soul, and yes, they are without a heart.
Also, if another company that we respected told us that we could do the exact same job for them, except that they would pay us twice as much as we make today, what would we do? For many of us, we would bid our current employers a fond goodbye and thank them for allowing us to grow and get to the next point in our career. If we can leave our company for a hotter and more appealing opportunity, then how surprised can we be if they decide to drop us for what they perceive to be a better deal?
It can be emotionally devastating to be notified we are losing our position, and very often we need some time to process it. However, the quicker we are able to process the reasons why, and not get overly lost in sadness over how could they, the quicker we are able to move forward with what needs to be done.
So what needs to be done? What else can help us thrive when the unexpected happens? There is no greater protection against the unexpected than planning for it. The greater your success in your career, the higher the likelihood that eventually you’ll get the dreaded meeting invite. Instead of being surprised, start with getting ready now. Just like I have a go bag at my house in case of an emergency, we get prepared for the unexpected before it happens.
That means that my LinkedIn profile is updated and that I am actively paying attention to my network. That means that I am nurturing my network while times are good, and staying connected with people that I view as sponsors and mentors and respected colleagues. It means that I am actively trying to connect with others, and help others move forward in their careers. I am not just a taker, but in good times and bad I am trying to help others. Life tends to be one big circle, and what you put out in kindness tends to come right back towards you when you need it the most. When you are prepared, you are not scared; when you are prepared, you realize that the next opportunity is just a call or message away.
Time and unforeseen occurrences can befall us all. We could be an incredible employee, but just happen to be part of a group that is going away. We could be a tremendous asset to a corporation, but just end up being too expensive to keep on. Whatever the case, there is no reason to feel embarrassed and there is no reason to feel like any less of a person. Reach out to friends and family and let them know what is going on and that you are looking. Even if you have not been active on social media and LinkedIn specifically, reach out and let others know that you are actively looking for your next opportunity.
You might be surprised how many people you have impacted and how many people are actively rooting for you and sincerely want to help you. Who would have thought that one of the greatest things we can do, to thrive when the unexpected happens, is to be humble enough to ask for help?
Stephen Paskel is Senior Vice President Of Operations at CMIT Solutions of Biltmore.