Laid Off, Laid Back, or Laid Plans?

Take a moment to check your pulse.

First, rejoice that you have one. (Seriously.) Then consider what your pulse tells you.

Are you relatively laid back and relaxed about your life circumstances, your work, your relationships? Or are you anxious and concerned about what the future will bring? Or are you already in panic mode because you received that email at 3 am informing you your job has been eliminated?

Laid Off

Being laid off is no longer the stigma it once was. It has become a painful but common means for adjusting expenses to fit revenue in most modern businesses. It also allows companies to become more productive as new technology becomes available.

In fact, downsizing has actively helped productivity soar in the business sector (less so in manufacturing). As computers became ubiquitous, data analytics gained traction, cloud computing enabled further efficiencies, machine learning streamlined processes, and now artificial intelligence looms as the new holy grail. [See example US productivity development chart. Source.]


Laid Off Graph

But, honestly, if you have been laid off or are in fear of it, what do you care about productivity?

So what are the current trends in layoffs? In the US, it seems tech, media, financial services, and transportation and warehousing are the most affected industries so far. [See source.] Still, 2024 cannot compare with 2023 in terms of layoffs especially in the tech sector:

In 2023, more than 1,190 tech companies laid off some 262,000 workers, according to, which tracks layoffs in the tech industry.

The biggest layoffs in 2023 were at big-name companies, including Amazon (27,410 workers), Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram (21,000), Google (12,115) and Microsoft (11,158).

But so far in 2024, over 34,000 employees have been laid off among more than 140 tech companies. Some of the big names this year include Snap, which owns SnapChat, Zoom, PayPal, Salesforce, Microsoft, eBay, TikTok, Wayfair, Google, Discord, Audible and Rent the Runway. [See source.]

European firms may be catching up on the layoff front. Cuts have been announced in the automotive, banking, engineering, retail, tech, pharmaceutical, and many other sectors so far this year. Meanwhile, many look to the ECB to begin cutting rates to help stimulate the economy again. [See source.]

Laid Back

Postponing and procrastinating are simply human mechanisms that some people use to wriggle through life. But they will not help your career in the long run. [Read Tomorrow’s Timeless Allure.] Especially when you come to realize that you can actually exercise far more choice than you may have previously realized. We explain how in Cherry-picking Your Career. With more than 400,000 executive roles changing hands every year in the US, EU, UK, and Middle East, there is simply no excuse to sit idle when there is so much opportunity available.

In many cases a layoff involves some sort of settlement or “package.” If you receive one, though, please think twice about whether you remain laid back and take a vacation or invest your time in finding that next opportunity. In fact, investing in career management services with The Barrett Group for those unemployed has as much as a 1400% ROI versus 200% for those still employed. Either way, it’s a smart investment. [Read more.]

Apropos ROI, as an incentive to taking action you may wish to review some of the returns our clients have enjoyed by taking the plunge—laying plans to seek that next role—the one that ticks all of their boxes. [Read Results Don’t Lie: It’s the ROI.] Frankly, even staying put has financial drawbacks for most executives who are often frozen by fear and stay in the same unrewarding job far longer than they should for their own economic well being. [Read more.]

Laid Plans

One of our clients recently said it well: “What you don’t do often, you don’t do well. For me, that was job seeking[…] I’d made only three or four career changes in my entire life, but The Barrett Group does this for a living. They know all the tricks in the book.” [Read more about our client Chris Burger.]

The Barrett Group helps executives clarify their career targets and define a personal strategic plan for achieving them. Then we guide each exec to navigate the market, excel in interviews, and negotiate exceptional compensation. Finally, we help clients on-board seamlessly in their new roles. We’ve been at it for more than 30 years. It is no wonder that Forbes now regularly cites the Barrett Group as one of the best in the business.

Sure, you can try to find that dream role on your own. But be aware of the Dangers of the Do-it-yourself Market. They are mainly time and the opportunity cost of having to wait far longer to land the position of your choice because you don’t have the perspective or experience of a tried-and-true specialist in the career management market.

Here’s how one successful client put it: “I was searching for chief of staff and operations roles within the fashion industry for the first two months, but I was unsuited for all the opportunities because I lacked fashion industry experience. I made no headway. Even using my social capital, I was running into brick walls.” After hiring The Barrett Group and doing the necessary leg work, she was thrilled with her success. “I couldn’t have dreamt this opportunity in my wildest dreams,” she said. “Every aspect of what I identified as my dream job has been met in this role!” [Read more about our client Jocelyne Moussavou.]

So what will it be?

Will you make your proactive move to realize your dreams now, continue to bang your head on the wall in a frustratingly imperfect role, or take some interim job to get by after being laid off?

Whether you are laid off, laid back, or working so hard you are ready to be laid out… we suggest that you lay plans, beginning with a call to The Barrett Group. We can help.

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