Over a year ago, I was laid off. One day I was employed, the next day I wasn’t. And, though the company had been downsizing for some time, it caught me by total surprise. I had never been jobless. After all, I was a good employee, rose to multiple positions while working there and they liked me. How could they call me one afternoon, on my wedding anniversary, as I prepared to drive out of town to see a Stevie Wonder concert and inform me that my job was no more. How could they lay me off? Didn’t they realize that my husband had just recently started working again after being laid off for two years?
Being laid off is one of the scariest, debilitating things that can happen to a person’s mental, physical and emotional well being. It sends the mind spiraling from usefulness to uselessness. And no matter how sure you are that it was purely a financial decision, it never feels better than a gut punch. And a sucker punch at that.
In today’s day and age, we all know someone who has been laid off, and in many cases, we are that someone. I know lots of those someones and I know they are good people, good workers and were loyal employees of good companies.
If you know someone who has been laid off, or who’s staring a potential layoff in the face, remember these three things:
Encourage them- Assure them that everything has its season and it’s time to go bless another employer or start a business of their own. Point out their gifts and show them the benefits of new possibilities. Make sure they know that layoffs are commonplace these days and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Listen to them- They are going through a range of emotions that you likely can’t understand. Let them talk it out, cry it out, scream it out…whatever they need. They’ll feel better just knowing you care.
Help them to network-Connect them with people you know and encourage them to reach out to others they know. And, if they’re middle-aged or older or just plain depressed, spruce them up. Take them shopping for a new outfit or maybe some hair color. It’s a sad fact, but age discrimination does exist and first appearances do matter to employers.
I was blessed enough to immediately find a new job with a former employer (which is a blog in itself about never burning bridges), but not everyone is. Do something nice today for someone who’s been laid off or who’s worried about the future of their job.
Be a blessing to them because, unlike a job, blessings never fail.
Take good care!