When I first started full time work after graduating from college, I graduated into a recession. Just four months after starting at my new job at a SaaS company, the company had a layoff, which resulted in a number of my colleagues getting let go. Given my connections to the HQ, I knew a second layoff would also happen soon after. All signs pointed to it — employees not getting their bonuses, being forced to take X number of days off before the end of the year. The writing was on the wall. I started applying for new jobs because I knew I’d get laid off — last ones in are usually the first ones out. I even packed up the belongings on my desk a few weeks before the second layoff happened. That made it easier for me to make a quick escape when I finally did get laid off; no need for a big show of packing up my desk. I spent three months being unemployed, which ended in two full-time job offers and one full-time contractor offer. It was not a fun time at all, but in the end, I learned to never be that loyal to any company because at the end of the day, every single one of us would always be discardable. Very little protects you when you get fired or laid off; you’re powerless as an individual.
So when I realized the second recession of my adult life was coming, I imagined getting laid off again. I’m in a very different place in my life now and am way more comfortable then I was in 2009, but you know what? No one wants to involuntarily leave their job. No one ever wakes up in the morning and says, “I’d love to get laid off today!’ It’s demoralizing. It’s a huge ego hit. It is especially hurtful when you know that you’ve been the top performer on your team, but even that does not make you immune from a layoff. But it’s a further reminder that the working world is full of politics, gossip, backstabbing, and the game of favorites. And if you are not a favorite, your employment is always at risk.
People like me don’t fare so well in that schema because I don’t like to suck up, and no one would ever, ever label me a kiss-ass. I just want to be who I am and I will stand for what I believe in, and I won’t kowtow to people because of their positions and their standings as “favorites” among the CXO team.
If you aren’t going to be true to yourself, then who are you going to be true to?