• Getting laid off via email sucks and it makes you feel like shit
  • Don’t dwell on the insensitive process for too long or it will ruin you
  • Redirect your mental focus on new opportunities and find something better
You are totally fucking dumbfounded right now. You’re asking yourself, “Is this shit for real or some kind of sick joke?”

The email seems legit. It’s from HR, not one of those sketchy phishing emails. But, the subject line is what’s messed up. It’s three simple words that cut right to the matter: Notice Of Termination.

You just got laid off via email.

You open the email and read through the shallow intro, “We regret to inform you that…” It’s so fucking inauthentic. In fact, that phrase is kinda like a stupid ass business cliche. It’s completely robotic and fake.

The rest of the email just spells out the details of the termination and a form you’ll need to sign agreeing that you won’t sue the company.

Even though you saw the warning signs of layoffs, you didn’t expect to be cut loose in such an insensitive way. It’s kinda like getting dumped via texting and it affects you in pretty much the same way.

You’re going through a roller coaster of emotions as you prepare for job loss. You feel so fucking pissed off, betrayed, shocked, angry, confused and scared. Sometimes, it’s all at once; other times, the feelings rotate through your chest and head.

You don’t quite know how to react to this. But one thing’s for sure, you feel like shit.

Why Companies Lay Off Employees Via Email

It's a sign of the times we live in when companies don't even think twice about laying off workers via email. How impersonal, right?

But, there are reasons why this is becoming the norm for staffing cutbacks, particularly large ones. And, it’s not because companies want to be callous and heartless about it. It’s just that the actions that companies take often result in the side effect of it being insensitive. 

Effective And Efficient

Perhaps one of the primary reasons for conducting layoffs via email is that it’s the most effective and efficient way to do it, especially when it’s a mass layoff of several hundred to thousands of employees. It allows the company to send all the news and information to everyone at the same time, regardless of the timezone and/or location.

Can you imagine how long it would take for an HR department to get through a big layoff of several hundred employees or more by doing it on a one-on-one basis? It would take forever. Time is money and all businesses want to optimize that.

Control And Documentation

By using email, the company can carefully craft and control the message and its contents to ensure that there’s continuity. And, unlike in-person meetings where there’s a greater chance of things getting misinterpreted, a broadcast email ensures clearer information delivery and avoids the whole gossip trap.

Next, by sending everything via email, the company establishes an electronic paper trail for legal purposes. HR uses CYA emails too.

Minimizing Physical Confrontation & Conflict

For most people, getting the news that you’ve been let go can be tough to handle. And in some rare cases, people that can’t control their emotions may lose their shit and physically take it out on the manager or HR sitting across the desk.

So, as a measure of safety, having the bad news sent via email ensures to a greater degree that there won’t be much physical confrontation. Of course, this doesn’t and hasn’t prevented some wackos from “going postal” and taking revenge in other ways - that’s when shit hits the fan.

How To Manage Being Laid Off Via Email

While it is more efficient, laying off people via email isn’t very heartwarming – which is saying something when you consider how emotionless business communication can already be.

The reality is that with mass layoffs, efficiency is key to keeping costs as low as possible and getting the task done as quickly as possible. It’s unlikely that big layoffs will revert back to a more sympathetic in-person format.

Knowing that this won’t change and that companies don’t have much to gain by injecting more humanity into the process, it’s important to know how to deal with the stress of layoffs.

Don’t Spend Another Second Helping The Company

Yes, you are and continue to want to be a kickass contributor and team player. However, if the company’s preferred method to lay you off is via a cold email and treat you like shit. Well, the company deserves likewise.

The moment you get that layoff email is the very same moment that you stop working on all of your grunt work. The only thing you should focus on is completing the termination process - that’s it. All of those fires at work are now the company’s problem, not yours.

This is the moment you shift the focus to yourself and what you need to do for yourself and your family.

Work Through And Process The Emotions

There’s a really great saying about how to deal with emotional situations - you gotta “feel it to heal it.”

Don’t bottle up your feelings and thoughts. You’ve gotta get everything off your chest and unload all the bullshit. The more you can release these emotions and thoughts, the better off you’ll be. It’s just like how a child cries their heart out and when it’s all done, they’re back to normal like nothing ever happened.

You gotta do the same here. So, get with your work BFF and vent, pour it all out with your four-legged furry friend, yell at top of your lungs inside your car, hit the punching bag at the gym, etc. Find whatever method works best for you to “feel it to heal it.”

Find Your Own Closure To Move On

A lot of people need some kind of closure so that they can move on to the next step. For some, the simple act of confirming the termination process with HR is enough of a closure. Others may need more, like background and reasoning.

You may not have the opportunity to seek more information on the situation. If you do and it’ll bring you some more closure, then go for it. This way, you can stop banging your head against the wall asking why and instead, get the answers that will help you get the closure you need. Just be aware that the company isn’t obligated to share any further information with you.

Flip The Script And Find A Few Positives

It’s totally normal to feel like you’ve been rejected due to lack of skills or capabilities. In reality, layoffs are not because of any shortcomings on your part. In some cases, it’s all due to a stupid decision by a fucking clueless executive. In other cases, it’s a company’s short-term efforts to maintain profitability or competitiveness in a cutthroat business environment.

You can turn the tables on the situation. Find 3-5 positive things about this layoff. And, this is important - write it down on paper. The physical act of writing out really helps.

Find the good in this. It could be that you don’t have to deal with an asshole boss anymore. You don’t ever have to work on that fucking pain-in-the-ass weekly or monthly report. You can finally get more me-time. Sleep more and get healthy. Hang out more with friends and family.

Just think of all the bullshit you no longer have to put up with anymore - that’s a huge win for your mental health and happiness.

Shift Your Focus On The New Next Chapter

Getting laid off sucks especially when it’s done in such an impersonal manner via email. It would’ve been more considerate if the company took the time and delivered the news to you more gently with a human touch, especially if you’ve devoted a substantial number of years to the company, that’s the least they could do.

Unfortunately, those days are behind us. Everything in the business world is cutthroat and constantly being pushed for greater efficiencies and this includes the process of conducting layoffs. Digital technologies make it easy and simple to cut people fast to save time, and time is money.

Cutting people loose via email is brutally efficient and not meant to give employees thoughtful care and attention. It’s all about getting it done quickly and cleanly with as little of a mess as possible. The downside is that it can catch many people off-guard. So, it’s critical to do the three must-do’s for preparing for layoffs so that you’re not as heavily impacted.

If and when it happens (or maybe it already has), here’s the good thing - it’ll be quick. It’s like ripping the bandaid off in one quick move. Now, you can shift your focus to the next new opportunity that will boost your career.

Don’t dwell on the past, but look to the future.

It may not feel like it now, but better things are just around the corner - for real.

Feel Better,

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