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Job Hunting, Job Search Tips

A Comment on “How I Avoided Being Laid Off”

They say that the mark of an effective article—or blog—is its tendency to create a stir. When I wrote “How I Avoided Being Laid Off” (10/28/2011), I expected some feedback from readers concerned that I was inferring that what I learned from my own experience would translate to other workers facing layoffs as well. I did fail to include a disclaimer, however—that I was simply relating my own experiences and what I learned from them—nothing more. I include no guarantees regarding any other layoff situation.

Live and learn.

In a previous life, I worked in emergency management; specifically, hazard mitigation or the minimizing of hazards before they create disasters. Here’s a quick allegory to demonstrate what I did: if a large nail sits in the road, we can prepare for the havoc it will wreak by having a spare tire, a jack, and a cell phone to call AAA. We respond to the resulting emergency by changing the tire. We mitigate the hazard by removing the nail.

Summary The Cascadia Earthquake To replace an ...

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Those people who live by the San Andreas Fault, in Tornado Alley, or along the Atlantic Seaboard know that they cannot avoid being hit by earthquakes, tornados, or hurricanes. They can do things to minimize the likelihood of being seriously affected, like reinforcing their house or boarding up windows. But that doesn’t eliminate the threat.

Our agency faces another layoff next year, a third in only a year—the worst in our memory. Although I survived two rounds of layoffs this year, I am in no way safe from the next one, no matter how much I do to mitigate the threat. I can reinforce my home against earthquakes, but since I live in an area that is due for a possible Magnitude 9 earthquake, I’m likely to be affected somehow. This economy is our Magnitude 9. We prepare and we do all that we can to lessen the threat.  And it helps. But if I get laid off next year, I will not look back and wonder what I did wrong or what I didn’t do that I could have. Neither should anyone else. God sends the rain on the just AND the unjust. Rather than wondering what we could have done differently, we look forward and move on.

My point from the beginning: do your best to mitigate against the risks. Make yourself as indispensible as possible. But understand that even the best-built of buildings can be helpless against a Magnitude 9.


About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.


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November 2011
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