Are you dealing with layoff anxiety

How to Deal with Layoff Anxiety

managing change networking professional growth Jul 06, 2023

The world seems to be in a state of turmoil these days and if you’re employed in the tech sector it’s hard to ignore the almost daily headlines about massive layoffs.

What can you do to reduce your anxiety over whether you’ll be next?

Firstly, understand that it’s perfectly natural to experience some anxiety. We’re wired to be aware of danger and for most of us, the prospect of losing our job is something to be concerned about.

Secondly, DO something - make a plan. Taking action is the very best way to overcome depression and insulate yourself from undue trauma, should you find you are one of the people who are laid off.

Here’s my suggestions for what you can do if you’re concerned about being laid off:

  • This may seem obvious and it’s not a fun thing to do, however consider cutting back on discretionary spending and begin to set aside a financial cushion to give yourself some breathing room, should you need time to find another job. You may also want to negotiate a line of credit to be accessed only if required – much easier to obtain when you’re still employed.
  • Conduct a self-assessment of your skills and build a skills inventory. List all the skills you can think of and be sure to include soft skills. Get help from family, friends, co-workers and feedback from past performance reviews to add all the capabilities you have to offer to your skills inventory. You may also wish to scale each skill on a scale of 1 – 10 where 10 denotes mastery.
  • Refresh your resume to ensure it reflects your many talents and showcases your top skills.
  • Build your network (*) It’s the best way to discover what’s going on in your industry, research what it’s like to work in other companies and uncover the hidden job market (jobs which are never posted because they are filled by someone who is known to the company doing the hiring and who refers potential candidates). Having a trusted network that you can reach out to is one of the best ways to build your confidence and they can often help you discover your next opportunity.
  • Do your best to maintain a positive disposition in the workplace and continue to deliver good quality work. Don’t spend time talking to others about concerns you have over possible layoffs. It will only add to your anxiety and you may be viewed by management as someone who is causing unrest and that could make you more of a target for layoffs.
  • If you work for a large company and there are openings in other departments which aren’t at risk of layoffs, you may want to consider applying for one of those roles.
  • Start to research other companies that you may wish to work for. Connect with employees on LinkedIn and after they accept your invitation to connect, invite them to a quick 10 min call where you can ask them to share their thoughts about what it’s like to work for that company.
  • Think about what you want from your next move. Do some research to understand the corporate culture of different organizations and find ones that align with your values. Make a list of mandatory and nice to have criteria for your next opportunity.
  • Look for job opportunities that match your criteria, align with your skills and values and are companies you would like to work for.
  • Start to prepare for potential interview questions. Anticipate what you might be asked and have good answers ready to share. Don’t just think of the easy questions, anticipate more challenging ones such as “Can you explain this gap in your resume?”. Be ready with examples of where you’ve demonstrated the skills you are showcasing on your resume.


Throughout this challenging period remember practice self-care. Take time to add activities to your routine that support your physical, mental and emotional health. Be kind to yourself on the inevitable occasional down day. Do your best to integrate activities like taking mini-breaks, drinking plenty of water and spending time in nature into your day. These will all help you stay in a more positive mindset. Check out these guided mini-breaks on my website https://bit.ly/MiniEnergyBreak

As mentioned, there will be occasional down days when your anxiety seems to be greater than normal. This is natural – keep these recommendations in mind, begin taking positive action to prepare for what the future may hold and keep practicing self-care. 

(*) If networking is something you find difficult, I understand, I too used to find networking challenging and now I love it. Consider investing in my Networking for Success Workshop www.suemaitland.com to help you reframe your view of networking and gain the confidence get out and start making new connections. Networking also provides the additional bonus of uncovering the hidden job market.


Sue Maitland PCC is a professional life coach with Best Rest of Your Life Coaching who was a resource manager and recruiter in the tech sector for over a decade and now enjoys helping her coaching clients navigate successful life and career transitions.

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