If your job leaves you uninspired, and fragile; I feel you. If every morning you wrack your brain trying to come up with an excuse for not going to work; I feel you. If you question your value, overlook your intelligence, I really feel you. I’ve been there. In fact, I lived there, day in a day out, for the last 4 months. I just went through a massive layoff in my company. I've heard many smart people being asked to left the company. I've seen people with 15 years of experience getting laid off in this and can't find a better job for months. And for the ones in their 50s, there are the added worries about employers assuming they have out-of-date skills sets. Yup, it's a big ouch. The whole thing is just unfortunate.
But I do learn one valuable thing from the layoffs. It is very simple: Be prepared to be fired. Be prepared emotionally, technically and financially. I will give you three stories of my colleagues who were affected by this layoff.
The first story is my good friend, let’s call her Miss. Simple. She Just came out of school and joined the company as a management trainee. She loved the company and saw the company as a workplace that she can stayed forever as in the old days. She was too simple and naive that she didn't see it coming to her at all, even at the last day. As you can imagine, She left with tears and anger. So lesson one, be prepared to be fired emotionally. As much as you love you company, your company is incapable of making sentimental decisions. In the business world, everything is always business. No one is irreplaceable. Be realistic.
The second story is about another colleague I worked closed with. Let’s call her Miss Smart. I call her Miss Smart because she seems always improving. Always learn new skills and get the right certificate. She smelt the changes when she realized that there was going to be much less budget and projects in her department. So she polished her resume and contacted few headhunters, and soon got a sweet offer even before the layoff started. So lesson two. Always be prepared technically. Improve your skill set. Go through your resume as often as possible (don't wait till you are unemployed), and look at it from the point of view of a recruiter. Test your market value. And make sure you can always find a job in the market.
The last story is about my line manager. Let’s call him Mr. Rich, as he has achieved fanatical freedom in his early 50s. He used to tell me he want to travel around the world after retirement. And it came true! he got fired, with a large compensation. And happily pursued his dream to be a rich wanderer. Now he must be lying on the beach on the Saipan island. He always taught me to pay more attention to personal financing. And achieving financial freedom as early as possible. So lesson three. Be prepared financially; Don't rely on your paycheck as the only income in your family. Learn personal financing and manage money wisely. If one day you are financial free, of course you won't be worried about unemployment.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I have not been laid off,yet. If one day, the email popped into my inbox asking me to step into my manager’s office, waiting to be told that my position is eliminated. I will not be sad or depressed anymore. Because I am already prepared. And I have already learn the valuable lesson from Miss Simple, Miss Smart and Mr. Rich : be prepared to be fired, emotionally, technically and financially.