As we start a new month and new week, my heart goes out to a facility full of people who will be saying good bye to a place they’ve known for as many as forty years to as few as a couple years. Just 30 days ago, they were called into what they thought was a regular meeting and was told their facility was closing and leaving them without jobs. Just imagine the shock and emotions that filled the room!
If you’ve been faced with this reduction-in-force (RIF) situation or helped a loved one through it, it is one of the most stressful situations filled with a snowball of emotions – stress, anxiety, anger, sadness and shock. Your job is how you live and support your family. When those words are spoken, your entire world stops as you begin to process the information. Some may eventually reach a point of relief and happiness because they may have disliked their job and the people they worked with anyway, but the sudden news without notice, from the very people who once said they appreciated and valued you so much and who have been planning this for months leaving you without time to plan on your own terms, can leave you with a feeling of betrayal. It feels like a sucker punch right in the stomach! At that very moment, it’s when you know you went from being a valued employee with feelings to being nothing more than a number and line item on a financial report.
Unfortunately, this RIF scenario is happening all around the globe in companies trying to regain market share and stay relevant in their industry. You’ve seen these closure stories while scrolling on your phone or watching the news. You are numb to them until it directly impacts you or someone close to you. But, let me remind you of one thing we often forget because we get caught up “working for the company” instead of “working for ourselves”, is that businesses are designed to make money – plain and simple! Leaders/business owners will do whatever is needed to keep their business on top, offloading anything holding them down in an effort to regain stability and success. It becomes a “save yourself moment” and only the strong survive. It’s not personal, it’s business.
How do I know? I know because I saved myself in 2017. My RIF story is a bit different but bottom line, after 11 years with a company, my role was eliminated. I could have accepted a lower rank position, but I worked extremely hard to earn my executive role and my personal decision was not to allow someone else’s “save yourself moment” to negatively affect me long term. I was at a crossroads.
I immediately saw this as my opportunity to reinvent myself and re-emerge as who I wanted to be in this world. This meant using the skills I wanted to use, not the skills others wanted me to use to benefit them, to shine my brightest light. It was my chance to return to “working in my purpose” and not “working for a company”. From that moment in 2017, I took back control of my destiny and I’ve been “working in my purpose” ever since as an administrative consultant owning my own business, Moore Planning & Consulting LLC. I re-purposed my skills.
So to my former colleagues, as you transition into this unexpected new chapter, no matter what your passion is, whether it’s to work for another company or to own your own, remember that you always have (and still do) own your own destiny. Don’t let this business-based RIF decision lower your confidence or how you think of yourself. You matter and you can now take back control of your professional career. As your emotions surface, lean into them. It’s normal, but please use this time to tap back into your passion and back into your why. This is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. You deserve it! I wish you much love and support.
So I ask you, now, who are you going to be?
If this story resonated with you or if you would like to share how you navigated a similar situation, please share in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.