Point Lookout An email newsletter from Chaco Canyon Consulting
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December 25, 2002 Volume 2, Issue 52
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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.

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
  • The Grand Canyon

    The Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy US National Park Service.

    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
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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)

Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunLove the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome
Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenrcCMatGsipvVPfAkner@ChacSFUDwoEVPhFneEguoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
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More articles on Emotions at Work:

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When did you last receive an email message with a "tweaking CC"? Probably yesterday. A tweaking CC is usually a CC to your boss or possibly the entire known universe, designed to create pressure by exposing embarrassing information.
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When we communicate, we can't control how other people interpret our communications. Accidental offense is inevitable, and email is especially likely to produce examples of this problem. What can we do as members of electronic communities when trouble erupts?
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Some of us are fortunate — we work for companies that make sure they have enough people to do all the work. Yet, we still work too many hours. We overwork ourselves by taking on too much, and then we work long hours to get it done. If you're an over-worker, what can you do about it?
Too much time on his handsHurtful Clichés: Part II
Much of our day-to-day conversation consists of harmless clichés: "How goes it?" or "Nice to meet you." Some other clichés aren't harmless, but they're so common that we use them without thinking. Here's Part II of a series exploring some of these clichés.
RaspberriesHuman Limitations and Meeting Agendas
Recent research has discovered a class of human limitations that constrain our ability to exert self-control and to make wise decisions. Accounting for these effects when we construct agendas can make meetings more productive and save us from ourselves.

See also Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming Issues of Point Lookout

Harry S. Truman (front, second from left) and Joseph Stalin (front, left) meeting at the Potsdam Conference on July 18, 1945Coming December 2: Suppressing Dissent: Part II
Disagreeing with the majority in a meeting, or in some cases, merely disagreeing with the Leader, can lead to isolation and other personal difficulties. Here is Part II of a set of tactics used by Leaders who choose not to tolerate differences of opinion, emphasizing the meeting context. Available here and by RSS on December 2.
Fog offshore near Cabrillo National Monument, CaliforniaAnd on December 9: Clearing Conflict Fog
At times, groups can become so embroiled in destructive conflict that conventional conflict resolution becomes ineffective. How does this happen? What can we do about it? Available here and by RSS on December 9.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenaBghSFTILoRKzhwfner@ChacZeAuMbomAiqrEfgYoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

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Most Managing in Fluid Environmentspeople now work in environments that can best be characterized as fluid, because they're subject to continual change. We never know whats coming next. In such environments, managing — teams, projects, groups, departments, or the enterprise — often entails moving from surprise to surprise while somehow staying almost on track. It's a nerve-wracking existence. This program provides numerous tools that help managers who work in fluid environments. Read more about this program. Here's an upcoming date for this program:

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How to Spot a Troubled Project Before the Trouble StartsLearn how to spot troubled projects before they get out of control.
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented OrganizationsAre your project teams plagued by turnover, burnout, and high defect rates? Turn your culture around.
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