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Fired Up About Getting Fired

Bob Goldman on

Well, it's happened. The conference tables have turned.

It seems like forever that we've heard about a shortage of workers for a plethora of jobs. You want to work from home? No problem. You want to work Tuesday afternoons and every other Thursday? Be our guest. As long as you'll stay on the payroll, no one is going to pester you about why, when or how little you do.

Even under those favorable conditions, more and more people were leaving more and more jobs. They called it "The Great Resignation," but I just called it "Great." At long last, workers had the power and managers were dancing to our tune.

Now, the music has stopped. The Great Resignation has been replaced by The Great Apprehension. Suddenly, companies that once were focused on hiring are now absorbed with firing -- and all of us layabouts have started worrying about layoffs.

Or so I learned in "How to Deal with Layoff Anxiety," a recent article by Melody Wilding in The Harvard Business Review.

"More than half of U.S. companies actively reduced headcount," Wilding writes, "or plan to in the coming months."

 

If it's any comfort, allow me to point out that you have plenty of company. As Wilding also reports, "nearly 80% of American workers are scared about their job security as recession concerns loom."

One natural reaction to job insecurity is to "retreat and pull back on your efforts." Unfortunately, the less you do, the more likely you are to be fired. The other common reaction is to "work harder and evermore frantically." Alas, this can lead to the perception that you lack focus and discipline, another sure ticket to unemploymentville.

To put it simply, whether you work hard or hardly work, you can't win, and you definitely can be fired.

What is needed here is a set of guiding principles that will allow you to keep poking along at your normal pace while keeping the executioner from your cubicle door. The Harvard Business Review has suggestions, and I have suggestions about their suggestions. Let's get to work, shall we?

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