I recently looked at a curated list of companies announcing significant layoffs since March 2020. The number of workers varies from 400 up to 6000 and beyond. One of the companies included is Better.com, an online mortgage company recently facing backlash for laying off 900 workers on a Zoom call. In a viral video, Better.com CEO Vishal Garg announced:
“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately…”
The internet was swift and harsh in criticizing Garg, with many even calling for his firing. According to Insider, three executives quit, possibly due to the handling of the mass firing. Forbes previously obtained an email wherein Garg wrote to employees:
‘You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
While Garg’s behavior may seem extreme to some, others are all too familiar with managers who bully and companies who regard workers as disposable. I think it’s safe to say that most workers have grown accustomed to giving their all to a job only to be laid off with little or no notice. It’s like an abusive relationship that workers accept and tolerate.
Even with WARN laws in place, employers’ downsizing is normalized and expected these days. According to a 2019 Harris Poll, about half of the workers in a 2019 poll feel layoff anxiety. Surprisingly, Younger workers feel more pressure – sixty-one percent of people ages 18 to 34, compared with 41 percent of those 35 or older. No one is immune to layoffs. Wayne Cascio is a global leadership professor at the University of Colorado at Denver who has studied the impact of layoffs for decades:
“Many young people have witnessed firsthand the financial and psychological effects of layoffs on their parents, their relatives, or their friends. Layoffs happen no matter what the economy is doing, whether times are good or bad. As business strategies and skill requirements change, layoffs are an ever-present possibility for workers everywhere.”
So what’s my point?
My point is that layoffs are here to stay. It doesn’t look like employers will behave better any time soon, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that. There is something you can do about the psychological effects, though.
- Be better prepared for your job search by actively networking and keeping your job search content up to date. Passive job searching is the new active job searching. You’re more likely to get offered new opportunities while you’re employed.
- Take steps to establish and manage your personal brand online. Don’t wait until you’re laid off! Start doing it NOW. If you’re unemployed right now, then start here.
- Stop going into jobs believing any employers will have your back because the days of offering loyalty in exchange for job security are over. Expect your position to be cut anytime without notice, and look at it like they do – it’s just business. By the same token, if you get offered a better opportunity, don’t be afraid to say, “It’s not you. It’s me…” and move on.
Getting laid off with no notice should NEVER come as a surprise to anyone. We’ve seen enough of it to know it’s always an option for employers. Protecting yourself against it should always be a priority for you.
There are a lot of great articles on this site to help, and you can accomplish many of the tasks in a single weekend.
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Control your career in 2022. Don’t let your career control you!
In 2023 Control Your Career. Don't Let Your Career Control You!
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