3 min read

Dealing with layoffs

I share three tips that will help you to protect your emotional health if you've been laid off due to covid19.
Dealing with layoffs

Show Notes

Hey everybody, there's a thing that I've been meaning to confront for a long time. And given the state of the world, this seems like a pretty good time. That thing is layoffs. I've actually tried to record episodes about layoffs two times previous to this, but I scrapped both episodes because they seemed a little glib, and there's not really anything funny about layoffs. Well, I'm really glad that I didn't pull the trigger on those episodes. Last week, we had nearly full employment. Well, I know a lot of people in hospitality and the fitness service industry, I know a lot of musicians. And they're all out of work. All of them. At the same time.

Over the coming months, our entire economy is going to have to flex to meet these new realities. Every industry is going to be touched in some way. If you don't know someone who's been laid off, you will soon. If you've never lived through a tech recession, you're about to find out what it's like. You know, a colleague of mine said to me, somewhat jokingly that she has PTSD from having lived through a couple of layoffs over the course of her career. Unless you've experienced a layoff yourself, that might seem like hyperbole. It's not. As someone who has lived through multiple tech recessions and survived multiple layoffs, I can tell you that there are very few experiences that can undermine your sense of self-worth more than being laid off. All of you folks out there who are newly out of work, all of those feelings that you're having, it doesn't mean you're weak.  Your emotional fabric can be torn just like your skin, but it can heal. You can come back stronger and better. But you have to take care of yourself. You have to take care of your emotional health. So that's what this episode is about. I just want to share some of the lessons I've accumulated over the years. This is the stuff that I wish someone had told me after my first layoff. And I hope that this will be helpful to you and your loved ones.

First, your job is not what makes you valuable. Your value doesn't come from outside. It comes from in here. It's intrinsic to you, the job you have now, that's just the current frame for your talent, knowledge, and abilities. If the frame changes, your value doesn't diminish. It can't because your value comes from inside of you. Never forget that. If you find yourself out of work, sure, allow yourself a brief period of mourning. Then get back on your feet and square up to the challenge. How are you going to deploy your unique talents and capabilities to light up your new frame? The new frame presents challenges. But it also presents opportunities.

Second, you are needed. The world needs you. There's gonna be a lot of chatter in the coming months about things that are essential, things that aren't essential. Obviously, doctors and nurses are going to be on the front lines for a long time. So if you're not an MD, does that mean you're not essential? No. Here's the big picture. There is no scenario in which we do not repatriate supply chain logistics, manufacturing, and that's just the beginning. We need to reorganize our entire economy. The work that we have ahead of us is more far-reaching than anything in human history. If you think for a second, that you aren't needed, snap out of it. Like never before. We need smart, talented, capable people. Nobody gets to be on the sidelines. Those days are over.

Third, do not allow yourself to become isolated. In primitive societies, the worst criminals weren't punished by death. They were banished. Why? Because social isolation is a fate worse than death. It doesn't matter if you're an introvert or an extrovert. We are deeply social and cooperative creatures. It's part of our genetic heritage. That's precisely why layoffs can be so psychologically damaging. You're not just losing income, you're losing your tribe. So acknowledge it now and take proactive steps to stay connected and fight isolation. Wherever you can find a sense of community, be it meetups, clubs, church, whatever. It doesn't matter. Find your tribe. Be in the mix. Don't suffer in silence and don't allow yourself to become isolated. For men especially, your life literally depends on it.

Well, that is all I've got for today. So stay in touch. I'm on Twitter @TeddyKim

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