When you hear layoff rumors at your job and see high unemployment numbers in the news, it’s easy to become anxious. One strategy for reducing anxiety is to actively manage your thoughts. The goal of doing this is to keep you in the most faith-filled, productive state of mind because that will benefit you greatly, regardless of the layoff outcome. Consider these five easy tips, coupled with a few of my favorite encouraging scriptures:
1. Set your focus
“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habbukuk 2:2
As you can see from this verse above, setting your focus is actually a spiritual principal. And when you're facing rumors of a layoff, this scripture is very powerful because the act of “writing a vision” on paper automatically reroutes your thoughts and energy in a positive direction. Write down what you would like to see happen in your career, rather than what you fear could happen.
2. Keep to the current task at hand
“What your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10
If you’re obsessively worrying about losing your job, you can slowly stop focusing on your work. And thoughts like, "We’re getting laid off anyway so why bother?" can easily try to attack your mind. While distractions like these are very real temptations, please don't embrace them. At this point, you truly don't know if you're being laid off yet, so don't slip behind on your work and give your employer an easy reason to consider laying you off.
3. Seek a new job
"Seek and you will find..." Matthew 7:7
While seeking a new job may seem like a very simple and obvious strategy in managing your emotions about layoff rumors, I have personally found (and heard the same from many others) that this is one of the most difficult steps. While I can’t speak for everyone, I personally think this step is difficult because it requires acknowledging (on some level) that the layoff really could happen. But looking for a job is good because it shifts your mindset into focusing on new possibilities rather focusing on losing your job.
4. Continue building new, and existing relationships, in your current workplace
"Two people are better off than one for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help." Ecclesiastes 4:9
I absolutely love this tip because it’s a two-for-one deal. Your new, or existing, contact may point you to a new opportunity that exists within your current company. (This happened to my mom when coronavirus cuts led to an elimination of her position, but she was quickly reassigned to another department that had an opening available). If you actually do end up getting laid off, your colleague might be willing to give you a job reference when you begin applying for new job at a different company. The two-for-one part is that you can also do both of these things for your colleague!
5. Cut, or delay, unnecessary spending
"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?" Luke 14:28
By far, the most commonly expressed concern by anyone who’s facing a layoff is, “What will I do about money?” Well, if you hear rumors of layoff, you can help reduce those fears by actively cutting those things that you really don’t need, but have as a matter of convenience. This might be a cable subscription, when you could easily replace it with an app, or cutting back on eating out every night. If you have a big purchase planned like a new sofa, you could technically delay it until you are certain of your unemployment status. Please note – This tip isn’t meant to suggest anything drastic like selling your car or pulling the kids out of private school. Unless your situation gets to that point (and we’re believing God that it never will), that’s far beyond what you need to consider right now.
I hope these tips help you refocus your thoughts during these changing times. You never know; the layoff rumors may be untrue. I've experienced layoff rumors several times in my career that never materialized, and doing what I've outlined above really helped me stay focused as well.
Always sending hope your way,