The "ghost" of being fired always lingers, even when you start working for another company. Despite being the best and most dedicated employee, sometimes it's not enough as your job security depends on various factors such as the company's financial status, economic context, and subjective elements.
Since the COVID pandemic, this feeling of a "ghost" out to haunt us has only intensified. Half of US companies, for example, have reduced or plan to reduce their workforce in the coming months.
Now, experts warn that the Great Resignation is leading to the Great Apprehension. The fear of being laid off affects the emotional and physical well-being of employees and can also hinder their performance and mental health.
For instance, 80% of workers fear losing their jobs during a potential recession. This fear can be discouraging, affecting their concentration, motivation, and overall well-being, leading to anxiety or depression.
This also creates a vicious cycle: reduced productivity, withdrawal, or lower efforts, which could put them in the firing line if further cutbacks occur.
Does this sound familiar? It's crucial to learn to recognise and manage this anxiety to prevent it from affecting your performance in a context where layoffs are a real threat, but not necessarily an immediate one.
Identifying and proactively managing your feelings is essential. Don't let layoff anxiety consume you. Here are some tips on how to cope:
1) Distinguish reality from unfounded ideas
When we are anxious, our brains tend to amplify and even create problems. Pay attention to your thoughts and analyse whether you are jumping to conclusions.
2) Assess the facts that indicate whether you're at risk of a layoff
Have you received any warnings? Has the company made staff cuts? Are you experiencing a reduced workload or being excluded from meetings? Are sales low? These questions may help set the tone at your organisation. But unless the answers are a "yes", it's always best to remain calm but be prepared for any eventualities.
3) Be proactive
Observe and get feedback on whether your projects are important and whether your time and talent are being utilized effectively. Communicate with your boss and express any concerns. A course correction may prevent dismissal.
Use your pessimism constructively. Consider the possibility of being fired and plan accordingly with a backup plan.
Fear is not always negative, but it must not control you. If you feel that you are at risk of being laid off, use that anxiety to your advantage and work harder to prove your worth.