Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 2, Issue 52;   December 25, 2002: What's So Good About Being Laid Off?

What's So Good About Being Laid Off?


Layoffs during the holiday period of November 15 through January 15 are far more common than you might think. Losing your job, or fearing that you might, is always difficult, but at this time of year it's especially helpful to keep in mind that the experience does have a bright side.
The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy US National Park Service.

When bad things happen, we tend to forget to look for the bright side. One technique for finding new perspectives is reframing. In reframing bad news, you try to find alternate ways to view what has happened so as to bring out the good.

Take being laid off. We often see only the dark side, especially during the holidays. Not minimizing the dark side, here are some reasons to be thankful when you get a layoff notice.

  • Don't have to worry about being laid off anymore
  • Looking for a new job is a full-time job — it's easier to find time for it now
  • Every day is casual day — not just business casual — really casual.
  • Collect unemployment without guilt
  • Run errands when there's no traffic on the roads
  • No longer have to deal with your old boss
  • No time sheets
  • One good thing about
    being laid off: you no longer
    have to worry about
    being laid off
    Save 35 cents on Tabasco sauce by clipping coupons
  • Home at a decent hour all the time every time
  • Don't have to listen to traffic reports
  • Traffic reports now seem hysterically funny
  • Gives you the insight you need to support friends in the same spot in the future
  • Lower income taxes
  • All your books are now in the same place
  • No more email from Security about new parking restrictions
  • Eating much less takeout
  • Cooking real food, then eating it sitting down
  • Afternoon movies
  • New job bound to be better than old job
  • More time with the kids
  • Reading for fun
  • Sitting down to dinner as a family much more often
  • Dry cleaning bills zeroed out
  • Got accrued vacation in cash
  • Dating
  • No longer have to deal with survivor guilt
  • Don't have to wear a badge any more
  • Can use the health club in mid-afternoon when there are no lines
  • Can actually use the health club
  • Get to the produce department before the produce gets picked over
  • No more cellular leash
  • Read more things like this
  • Finally see the Grand Canyon
  • No more bags of liquefied lettuce in fridge because of unanticipated three-week trips to the Far East
  • Vacation whenever
  • Network for yourself instead of your employer
  • Can always use the same bathroom
  • No traveling to exotic places and seeing nothing but the hotel
  • Catch up with friends
  • Browse in bookstores
  • Biking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing
  • No more working dinners at 9pm
  • Save big bucks on day care
  • No worries about what to do with the kids on snow days
  • Less wear and tear on expensive clothes
  • Low-mileage discount on car insurance
  • Jacqueline Suzanne and PDQ Bach
  • While sending out resumes, get interrupted by your four-year-old with urgent drawing of moon
  • Rediscover your spouse
  • Two words: the package

If you face layoff soon, or if it's already happened, see what you can do to extend this list. Go to top Top  Next issue: Saying No  Next Issue

The health effects of a positive outlook have been suspected for some time, and research in the area is expanding the evidence. Two examples available on the Web are:

  • Toshihiko Maruta, MD; Robert C. Colligan, PhD; Michael Malinchoc, MS; and Kenneth P. Offord, MS. "Optimists vs Pessimists: Survival Rate Among Medical Patients Over a 30-Year Period." Mayo Clinic Proc. 2000;75:140-143. More
  • Laura D. Kubzansky, David Sparrow, Pantel Vokonas, and Ichiro Kawachi. "Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? A Prospective Study of Optimism and Coronary Heart Disease in the Normative Aging Study." Psychosom. Med. 2001 63: 910-916. More (search for Kubzansky)

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See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Feeling shameComing November 2: Shame and Bullying
Targets of bullies sometimes experience intense feelings of shame. Here are some insights that might restore the ability to think, and maybe end the bullying. Available here and by RSS on November 2.
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Problem solving is sometimes difficult when our biases interfere with generating candidate solutions, or with evaluating candidates we already have. Here are some suggestions for dealing with these biases. Available here and by RSS on November 9.

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