Surviving The Downsizing


Recently a friend of mine got caught in a downsizing, and even though I’ve spoken with hundreds of people in the same boat, it was quite an eye-opener watching a friend go through it.

Here are some thoughts:

  1. There’s a definite emotional process at work here. You’ll rotate from being stunned to depressed to angry to hopeFUL to hurt to hopeLESS, then back to being stunned. These emotions can hit all at once, or in any combination, and you can go from one to another with lightning speed. There’s a required rotation, and if you don’t hit each emotion enough times you have to go back.
  2. Your former co-workers often won’t contact you because they don’t know what to say. You’re sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring just so you know you’re not forgotten. But life back at the office continues without you, and the void you left is quickly filled.
  3. You might feel embarrassed that this has happened to you, and you may start believing that you have “fired” stamped on your forehead. You’re tainted! Everyone knows, including the clerk at the gas station you’ve never been before!
  4. When you first begin updating your resume and searching for a new employer, you will probably focus on how you will address the question “Why did you leave your last employer?” It’s only after the required amount of self-punishment that you begin to focus on what you still have to offer. Be honest, straightforward and brief! Don’t be bitter. If you can’t say anything nice, be neutral. Practice your answer so you will appear at ease with your predicament.
  5. Here are some thoughts I passed on to my friend: This, too, shall pass! Embarrassment isn’t fatal; it only feels that way! Job hunting is part statistics. If you talk to enough people you may find that “perfect job” (incidentally, my friend did).

And one final thought: Many people who lose their jobs due to downsizing end up with much better jobs and increased pay and are often very thankful they were forced to re-evaluate their lives and make some much-needed changes.