Here’s the scenario. You’ve been with the company a number of years. Sales have been down consistently. You have already survived 2 or more rounds of layoffs. You know it is coming down the pipes….and you just can’t WAIT to get the summer off.
Knowing you may soon be unemployed creates a psychological contradiction. On the one hand, there is anxiety. But, there is also eager anticipation. Sometimes you feel you'll never find another job. Your head fills with images of the financial difficulties ahead. Still other times your mind is rushing with all of the possibilities that will be open to you: a chance to work on the house, a better paying job, the sense of security that has eluded you the last few years, or perhaps starting your own business. You know you can do better.
The saddest part of the process is watching the people around you change. Waiting to be laid off triggers a mourning response. As employees confront the inevitable loss of their job, they become comfortable with the idea. They reach acceptance. As that happens, people stop caring about the company and their work performance. If it is inevitable, why obey the rules or work too hard? This attitude causes friction and before you know it the workplace is anxious, hostile and inefficient.
There is also a good amount of survivor’s guilt. Many people will feel guilty that they survived the previous round of layoffs. They are sad to see coworkers out of a job. Others will be mad that “so and so” was laid off while someone else they don’t care for is still employed. And of course there is all that extra work. Someone has to take over the job duties of the now laid-off employees. And it will be you.
How will you finally be laid off? That depends. If you have survived a few rounds already, you might be essential personnel. That means you will be employed until the company goes out of business. It could either happen voluntarily when the company knows it no longer viable, or it could be involuntary, such as when the company has reached a point where it cannot make payroll.
But Cheer Up!
As of right now you are employed. And heck, some companies do turn around. So as long as you are going to be spending 40 + hours a week in that place, you might as well find ways to stay sane. Here are some suggestions on how to add some joy to your day while you are waiting to be laid off:
- Lottery pools at work (this will improve morale too!)
- Review your employment and financial options in the event you lose your job
- Send around funny e-mails (pinterest has some great pages pinned with joke after joke)
- Make a bucket list. It will help you decide how you want to move forward in life.
- Prank your coworkers
And remember, no one’s life ends with their job.