The term ‘pink slip’ strikes fear into the hearts of many, for a variety of reasons. For some, it is the reality of losing their source of income. Others feel like they have failed or let people down. A person’s pride can take a hit too if they feel like they were wrongfully let go. The experience of losing your job can fill you with lots of negative thoughts, one of those being, “I must be a loser.” However, nothing could be further from the truth.
There are several reasons people lose their job that have nothing to do with being a loser. Sometimes, the company is not performing well enough to keep its current staffing level and they have to let people go. Other times, people are let go because they are not a good cultural fit, and management can tell.
There are also times where the people managing are not equipped for their jobs, and they lose quality staff because of their own shortcomings. None of those is your fault, and it might just be the best thing that ever happens to you.
“Turning your passion into your job is easier than finding a job that matches your passion.” — Seth Godin
Downsizing is a common practice
This is a situation where remembering Agreement 2 of the Four Agreements would do you well: Don’t take anything personally. There are things that happen in the world that have nothing to do with you personally, like a company making a choice to downsize or furlough employees. A company might choose this route for several reasons:
- Rightsize resources to market demand
- Increase profit by reducing its overhead cost
- Improve efficiency by automating jobs with machines or software
These things are beyond your control and often teach us an important life lesson. Make sure you are living your life and not sacrificing your relationships, free time, or passions for a job.
If a company goes this route, your dedication and work ethic will have no bearing on this decision. I’m not saying to do a substandard job at work; however, there is a difference between going above and beyond your job, and missing out on the things that matter in life.
If this happens to you, don’t panic. There are programs in place to help you while you look for a new job, like unemployment that you have been paying into while working. This might also give you the opportunity to find a job you like even more.
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” — Oscar Wilde
How to handle not being a good cultural fit
If management lets you go because you aren’t a good cultural fit (which they can as long as the basis isn’t discriminatory), then it can feel like a blow.
Of course, teams should be made of different types of people, as everyone brings a unique perspective to their duties. It is hard to not take this one personally, but you should still try! The truth is that if they feel this way, you have been feeling the same things.
If the fit is so bad that they would let you go because of it, it’s probably been causing you anxiety and depression. It is difficult trying to mesh with people who don’t share your ideas about what work should look like.
Has that anxiety been spilling over into other areas of your life? It likely has, and it might be time to let that place go. This is a perfect time to ask yourself some tough questions.
Why was the fit wrong? Are you doing something that makes you happy, or is this a sign that you are on the wrong life path? Maybe you had some progressive ideas that they didn’t appreciate, and their oppression was holding back your talents.
You can take these skills to a new company that is going to leave you feeling valued and appreciated, or being let go could be the catalyst that pushes you to start your own company. How you choose to react to this will shape the opportunities you pursue in the future.
“Opportunities don’t happen, you create them.” — Chris Grosser
There are too many poor managers in the workspace
How does someone else’s poor management style, or suitability to the job lead you to lose yours? Well, a manager’s job is to lead their team to greatness, teach them ways to be more productive, ensure there is open communication, and foster an environment for growth. However, there are people who do not have the skill set to meet those demands.
This can lead to hostile environments and people not reaching their potential. Instead of helping someone understand where they need to improve, people butt heads. If this leads to you losing your job, try to find comfort because you are destined for better things, and these people were never going to help you achieve what you are capable of.
According to Cluer HR, having a terrible manager has negative effects on employees, which might even align with the reasons the company let you go. Maybe you weren’t meeting their productivity bench lines. Cluer HR says, “Working for a bad manager can cause increased stress and anxiety levels. Many employees could also suffer from sleep deprivation, which will decrease their productivity.”
This doesn’t mean that you don’t have some personal accountability in your work output. However, if you are struggling to the point of losing interest in your job or using more sick days just to avoid going in, then getting out of that place might be just the thing you need now. Before it gets this bad though, please remember that going to HR with your concerns is always an option.
“Bosses shape how people spend their days and whether they experience joy or despair, perform well or badly or are healthy or sick. Unfortunately, there are hoards of mediocre and downright rotten bosses out there, and big gaps between the best and the worst.” ― Robert I. Sutton
How to handle talking about losing your job
If you recently lost your job and are worried about how to tell other people, these simple tips will help you! Remember that you do not owe anyone a play-by-play of all the things that happened.
You can keep it brief, saying something like, “I am out of work right now. It was time for the company and I to part ways because we have different visions.” You don’t have to tell anyone what they said specifically.
When you share this news with people, try to tap into your inner confidence and remain positive. It’s natural to have some anxiety about what to do next, but just know that there is something better out there waiting for you.
You could say something like, “I have a couple of prospects and ideas of what the future holds. I’m excited to see what opportunities open up to me now that I am free to pursue some other interests.”
Stand up straight and hold your head up when you tell people. Our body language reveals a lot of what we truly feel. You are not a loser, and the confidence you are trying to project needs to come from how you hold yourself and express body language.
You “lost” your job. I don’t think so. You know where that job is. Think of it as the universe telling you it is time to “find” something even better. Trust divine order. ― Mary Frances Winters
Challenge yourself to reframe the way you see this experience. I know it is difficult, but mastering this skill will change your life in ways you can’t fathom. I had spent years working in business and management, even completing a master’s in management and leadership. I disliked the work, even though I was good at it.
So I started doing some soul searching and started writing again after a 20-year hiatus. I started writing on the side, making just a little extra money at first. My first paycheck for writing was $9, and I cried because someone had read what I had written and I had earned money as a writer.
This went on for a few months as a side gig that kept building. I had a lid on my potential though because I had a full-time job too, and there are only so many hours in the day. I contemplated quitting for months but was afraid. Then the pandemic happened, and they furloughed me. My first thought was not fear, but “This is great because now I can see what I could earn if I treated writing like my business and not a hobby.”
When they called me to go back, I was earning just about what I had there, only I was fulfilled and much happier than I had been in years. I told them no originally but ended up going back long enough for them to replace me. Losing my job gave me an incredible opportunity, and it can do the same for you. Be brave enough to recognize it.