Freedom Boxes

Do you know anyone who is the proud owner of some shiny new Freedom Boxes?

There is no easy way to prepare for being laid off.

It just happens and all of a sudden you are without work.  Sure, they try to make it better for you by saying things like “It’s nothing personal, we had to make some tough decisions.”

It starts with a simple “can you come into my office?” and there is someone in there that you have never met looking a little too comforting. “Please close the door, Have a seat” then the rest goes by in the blink of an eye.  BLAM! Blindsided.  You have been voted off the island and before you know it you are back at your desk with your new ‘Friend’ from the HR services company who is giving you your Freedom Boxes to pack up your stuff.

This has been happening around our offices over the past couple of weeks and there have been a lot of people laid off. In our department alone, of about 60, we lost 8 ppl.  The morning it happened, we could tell who had been affected because there were 2 neatly stacked Freedom Boxes at their desks.  Kindly placed there by the HR consultancy people who are managing the whole process.

It is a horrible thing to have happen and to see happen.  It’s kind of like the death march when your co-workers are summarily walked out of the building after they have been given an opportunity to pack their new Freedom Boxes.  It is rather embarrassing for all concerned.   Especially for the person who has been let go.

It would be very easy to wallow in self pity for the next few days, weeks, months… but the reality is that if this has happened to you, then you have been given a chance to start fresh.  This is your opportunity. It is not often in life that you have an opportunity to have enough money to live on for a number of months with no specific work obligation while you explore the opportunites that you have been ignoring for so long.

While this is of little solace to those of you still in the self pity phase, take solace that in these unfortunate times you are not alone and the social stigma of losing your job is not as significant as it would be if financial times were all bread and roses.  There are people you know who are in the same boat as you.  People you know directly, people you know through friends, through friends of friends, etc…   The point is that you are not alone.  If you sit in your pity pool too long then you will be alone because all your friends will be out looking for new opportunities.

“What do I do?” you ask.  Well, I put it to you, What would you do if you had no obstacles?  You are in an obstacle free zone right now.  Take advantage of it.  This does not give you the opportunity to take a vacation.  It does not give you the opportunity to buy that new big screen TV.  It does give you the opportunity to take a course.  Go back to school, learn to weld, become a carpenter, learn how to sell on Ebay, master your Knitting skills, etc…  Whatever you have been wanting to do in your life for a long time but felt your job and the obligations of work were holding you back, well now is the time.

Break free.

Many people feel that there is a universal energy.  (I’m going to get all metaphysical on you here so bear with me for a minute.)  You get what you want.  I can hear you now. “What the F#@& does he mean by THAT!” I mean, that if you put out the message that you want to move on from your job then that is exactly what will happen.  That is the message you are sending to your co-workers, your managers, your boss, the universe, to yourself.  This will be reflective in the way that you work.  You won’t be putting your full effort in. You will be biding your time until you either quit or get fired.  This has been a message that I have personally seen over and over in friends and co-workers.  When asked afterward about how they felt, a good many of them said they felt ‘Relieved‘ because they were thinking about quitting anyway and this just forced them to move their ass.

This is the Universe, Life, Kicking you firmly in the ass and telling you to do something that means something to you.  It does not have to mean anything to anybody else but you.  If your life dream is to be a street sweeper then go and be the best damned street sweeper that you can be.  If you have always wanted to become a widget maker then follow your dream.  Be the best damned widget maker that the world has ever seen.

At the end of the day, they only person you have to answer to is you (and the minister of domestic affairs) so be the best that you can be and the rest will fall into place.

Tell the Universe what you want and with a little luck, the universe will deliver.

Embrace your Freedom Boxes


How Do They Tell You?

How does your company handle layoffs in this economy?  Do they blame it on tough economic times or do they just come out and say that you are not cutting it?

Where I work, the email just came out advising about the coming year and what it means for the company and it’s employees.   Salary freezes, bonus reduction, organizational re-structure etc… All affected in some manner or another.   I have to say though this line was masterfully crafted.

As we have in the past, we will make targeted adjustments to our employee base to reflect ongoing priorities of the business and operational improvements.

I love a beautifully crafted phrase or message that has a significant underlying meaning and this is a doozey. It could have been cold and impersonal such as

Some of you are doing better than others, but due to the tough economic times, we have to let some of you go

or reality based such as

Team 2, got nothing for you, head back to camp and we’ll see you at tribal council where some of you will be going home.

So I put it to you, what are some of the ways in which you have been advised of a coming employment storm at your workplace or how did you find out about the storm?

Post in the comments.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start cleaning my desk.