Home Business Advice | What not to say when people are being laid off

Advice | What not to say when people are being laid off

Advice | What not to say when people are being laid off


When my eldest daughter was 7, she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease with a low rate of survival.

There was no known cure, so physicians tried a battery of drugs to find a way to keep her alive. That meant frequent blood draws for a child already terrified of needles. It took a lot of coaxing and time to keep her still long enough to complete the procedure.

Once, an impatient phlebotomist, said, “I do this all the time. This is no big deal.”

With a maturity that surprised me, my daughter said, “It’s a big deal to me. It is a big deal because you’re taking something that’s supposed to be in my body. It might not be a big deal to you because it’s not happening to you.”

I’ve been thinking about what my daughter said all those years ago, though in an entirely different context.

By the end of the year, dozens of my colleagues at The Washington Post will leave, having chosen to take a “voluntary separation package.” The company wants to reduce its workforce by 240; if it falls short, there will be involuntary layoffs.

For many people, the season of joy can be a time of financial and psychosocial trauma. Companies often conduct layoffs around December as they try to balance their books ahead of the new year.

Job cuts are hitting a lot of industries, from media to tech to automotive. This week, the game and toymaker Hasbro said it would shed about 1,100 employees.

Rare layoffs hit the New Yorker — and a unionized staff hits back

You may want to offer comfort to someone losing their livelihood, but even words meant as encouragement could be misconstrued.

If you’re management, stay away from, “Please, don’t take this personally.”

It’s the equivalent of, “It’s no big deal.”

A layoff is always personal. It directly involves people’s finances and quality of life.

I’ve helped a lot of folks figure out their financial situation when facing a job loss. Here’s what not to say to someone in that position:

This doesn’t mean the company didn’t value you

It doesn’t matter if the reduction is the result of unforeseen economic conditions or poor management, the decision to eliminate positions hits hard.

So trying to placate folks by saying how instrumental they have been as employees, you take the focus off the fact that they are being sacrificed. It also might come off as insincere, because even good performance didn’t save their jobs.

Being let go either voluntarily or involuntarily can make a person feel disposable.

These are some of the notable companies laying off workers

I’m sure you’ll find a job soon

This may or may not be true. Even talented people can struggle to find a new position, especially one at the same salary level.

Better to ask the person how can you help with their job search.

How to survive without a paycheck if a financial emergency strikes

This could be an opportunity for you

It’s natural to want to help someone deal with a layoff. You want them to have hope.

In our earnestness, we say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Ever drink lemon water without a sweetener?

Many people are living paycheck to paycheck — even highly compensated individuals. Being let go can result in immediate financial stress.

This is not to say you shouldn’t provide encouragement about what the future may hold.

Maybe there is something better coming the person’s way, but right now, in this moment of job instability, they are feeling devastated.

Improve your chances of getting noticed by AI on job sites with these tips

This may be a good time to start your own business

Starting a business is no joke. And not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship.

About 20 percent of private sector businesses in the United States fail within the first year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The failure rate increases to about 50 percent after five years.

Egging on someone to do something they might not be qualified for can be risky, to say the least.

At least you’re getting a buyout/severance

Anytime you start a sentence with “at least,” just stop.

What you are about to do is minimize what’s happening. The uncertainly of what’s coming financially, trumps the feeling of being fortunate to get buyout funds or a severance payment.

Sure, getting some money is better than getting nothing, but that’s not the point.

People are worried about what happens when whatever they get runs out.

8 ways to combat ageism in your job search

Allow space for people to grieve.

Even for those who land another job right away, the change can still be uncomfortable and unwanted.

People need to feel what they feel.

Just listen. You don’t have to fill the silence with words of wisdom.

It’s okay if they are not okay.

If you want more personal finance advice that’s timeless, order your copy of Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones.

B.O.M. — The best of Michelle Singletary on personal finance

If you have a personal finance question for Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary, please call 1-855-ASK-POST (1-855-275-7678).

My mortgage payoff story: My husband and I paid off the house in the spring of 2023 thanks to making extra payments and taking advantage of a mortgage recast. Even though it lowered my perfect 850 credit score and my column about it sparked some serious debate with readers, it was one of the best financial decisions I’ve made.

Credit card debt: If you’re in the habit of carrying credit card debt, stop. It’s just a myth that it will boost your credit score. For those looking to get out of credit card debt, see if a balance transfer is right for you.

Money moves for life: For a more sweeping overview of my timeless money advice, see Michelle Singletary’s Money Milestones. The interactive package offers guidance for every life stage, whether you’re just starting out in your career or planning for retirement.

Test yourself: Do you know where you stand financially? Take our quiz and read more personal finance advice.


Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here