Being let go is not a reflection of who you are

Loving mind

Sree Mitra

February 1, 2024

Author: Sree Mitra

As the economic outlook continues to drag and stays bleak, there is daily news of companies laying off people. This news is not just restricted to the business platforms but have taken prominence in social media. People are sharing openly on FB, TikTok, Threads, X when they have been let go. This would have been unimaginable in the past – an extremely private news almost to the point of being shameful, something to be hidden until the next position is secured. Sharing that you have been let go was construed to reflect your personal failure.

So, this trend of posting a very vulnerable event to the entire world reflects two things for me –  

Firstly, social media gets a lot of bad rep that it’s all about how amazing everyone’s life is – the breathtaking travels, exquisite food, beautiful makeup, perfect dance moves.. the list goes on. But in reality, life also has turmoil, hard work, challenges, losses… and sharing something so shattering that you’ve lost your job and have no idea what you will do next is truly a reflection of life throwing punches at you. I don’t know about you all, but social media just became real for me.

And secondly, in this digital age where so much of our interaction is through our screens, it will not be too much of a stretch to say that the belief of support for many of us comes from the followership, the likes and the hearts we get on our posts. So, when someone is at their lowest and need the support the most, it is but obvious that they would seek that on social media.

There are very few life events, where your mental well-being is so profoundly impacted, that can compare with how you feel emotionally and cognitively when you have been let go.

The first thought that takes over is ‘What am I gonna do? Will I lose everything I have built so far?’ The mind starts spinning out of control and before you know you are probably getting close to having a panic attack. If you have heard or read about mindfulness, this is the time to bring it into action. STOP, like literally Stop, Take a breath, Observe what you have right now, and Proceed with a plan.

  • Stop imagining the worst that can happen.
  • Focus on your breath. Take deep inhales and deep exhales. Even a minute of focusing on the breath will calm the mind.
  • Take stock of what you have – your connections, your finances, the assets you have created.
  • Put together a set of realistic actions on what you’re going to do next.

When you take control of your mind (instead of the other way around), you will come up with a plan that will take you forward.

The almost immediate second thought is ‘I suck! I was let go because I was not good enough for this job’. My fellow human, this is the time to practice self-compassion like never before. The fact that you were let go in most instances have nothing to do with your capabilities. Even though you have been told that you did not meet performance targets, it’s probably the organization not meeting its performance targets (which could happen due to a multitude of reasons that are completely out of your control). Do not let that inner critic blame you for losing this job. Be kind to yourself, remind yourself of all the experience and skills you have built that no one can take away, and move forward with confidence.

If you have been impacted by any of the recent layoffs, I sincerely hope you find the strength within yourself, and around you from the people you trust and who love and support you.

  1. Yes Sree! Experiencing a layoff can make us feel shame, and this is such a complicated (but universal!)emotion. The tricky part about shame is that we often want to hide – yet we heal from shame by sharing our stories. How wonderful that many are feeling comfortable talking about their experience of being let go on social media – I believe that if these stories are met with understanding and compassion, healing can begin.

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