What Layoffs Can Teach Us

Google, Amazon, Meta, and a host of other “too big to fail” companies have had sizable layoffs lately. Many former employees with these companies never saw the axe coming. When things begin to shift, the best thing we can do is acknowledge the change, accept that it is happening, and adapt accordingly. With that said, let’s look at what layoffs can teach us.

First lesson from the massive wave of layoffs: Don’t Get Ready, Stay Ready

In an ideal world, once you have a job you would stay for as long as you’re willing. However, when companies miscalculate their growth or future economic climates, cuts are inevitable. Even if you’ve survived the layoffs, remember the best offense is a good defense. Make sure you hit these next points will make sure you’re ready for anything:

  1. Never stop networking
  2. Keep your resume updated
  3. Continue building your skillset

Never stop networking

85% of jobs are found through networking. Eighty-five percent. I would not be writing this article for Nav.it if not for connections I made in my marketing class. It’s clear why you need to network when you’re on the hunt but what do you do when things are going well? Most people tend to lose contact with their network (less than 50%). If you want to be prepared for the unforeseen, keeping in contact with your online and IRL network can be an invaluable safety net.

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Keep your resume updated

There is a WIDE range of opinions online about how long it can take to write a resume but the general consensus is; it takes longer than you think. After your first or second draft, rewrites, then tailoring your resume to the specific industry/job you want, you will sink a considerable amount of time into your resume. If you add/subtract things little by little over time, you can cut down on that time sink if/when it’s time to start job hunting again. Keep a secondary document detailing your different job responsibilities so it will be easier to pull what you need for each job.

Continue building your skillset

Covid has been an accelerant for employment trends. The concepts of remote work and 4-day work weeks may have been whispers in most major job sectors but now they’re mainstream news. Switching careers has also become more common than ever. Half of American workers are considering a change in field and 44% already in the process of making that move. Instead of waiting until you have no choice, try taking time to complement your current skills with something that is outside of your current comfort zone. Learning something new may set you on the path to something that aligns even more with your goals and makes you happier professionally.

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What layoffs can teach us about how companies operate

Knowing what’s going on behind the curtain makes us better prepared to protect ourselves when things take a turn. There are some red flags that you can keep an eye out for so you’re not blindsided by incoming layoffs.

The company is in trouble

Have you heard about the latest hiring freeze? Did that big-name executive just jump ship? Or even worse, was your company just acquired? These are all pretty big signs that layoffs are on the way. Keep your ear to the ground and make sure you’re not being kept out of the loop on news or products. Why? Well. . .

You’re in trouble

If you notice that even the new intern knows more about what’s going on than you do, that’s a bad sign. If there are no future plans that you’re involved in, it’s a sign you may be cut. Also, if you have that Office Space moment when Michael and Michael are asking you what it is you do at the company, that’s a CRIMSON red flag. Your position is either on the line to be completely eliminated or they just want to replace YOU because they can pay someone new less.

Many factors to company layoffs can be attributed to what’s happening in a particular industry

Often layoffs of precipitated by a recession. Let’s take a look at some examples.

The housing market collapse precipitated the Great Recession of 2008, leading to a domino effect in which financial institutions and investment firms lost billions of dollars. The recession prompted a global ripple effect, with many countries feeling the pinch.

The recession of 2001 was relatively short-lived, but it was nonetheless devastating. It was brought on by several factors, including the dot-com bubble burst and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It led to many people losing their livelihoods via widespread job losses.

The recession of 1990-1991 was caused by factors including high oil prices and high interest rates. It resulted in widespread job losses and a rise in homelessness.

That being said, there are industries that are more recession and layoff resistant. There’s a good chance you can apply your skills in a different vertical.

What can layoffs teach us?

To be more aware of how things are working around us. We can learn to take better care of ourselves, staying hungry for knowledge so we’re ready to pivot no matter what happens. Also, you will know how to better protect yourself and others when you see certain signs. There are lessons in all things even if they don’t happen to you. Call it being a career doomsday prepper and make sure you have everything you need to get through a layoff. You deserve to be great, you deserve to achieve your goals and you deserve to land on your feet stronger than ever. Go get it!

Read More

Preparing for a Recession

Level Up: Online Courses to Grow Professionally and Personally

Free or Cheap Ways to Upskill Professionally

How to Build Skills on a Budget

The Importance of Networking During a Recession

Everything You Need to Know About a Recession

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Laid Off

Headshot picture of the writer of this article, Kenneth Medford III, with a muted black and white filter.
Kenneth Medford III

Writer, rhymer, gamer: the easiest way to define the man known as Kenneth Medford. I’m a simple man who loves to learn and loves to help and I wander the digital world trying to find ways to sate my hunger for both. Basically, I’m Galactus but helpful.

Check out my other work here or reach out to me on LinkedIn.

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