Discussion Thread

Being Laidoff Discussion

  • 1.  Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-03-2020 05:33 PM

    Being laid off is a terrible feeling but it's a harsh reality that some of us are facing during this time (speaking from very recent experience).

    It's important that after being laid off you have a strong family, friends to fall back on and to take care of yourself and your mental health first and foremost.

    You should always be optimistic and look at the positive that being laid off can lead to. Such as the start of a path that would have never been pursued or perhaps a total change in your career path. Being laid is terrible and doesn't feel good but like all bad situations, you must make the most of it.

    I wanted to start a thread to discuss being laid off:

    What are some of the possible opportunities that can come of it?

    How do you bounce back from being laid off?

    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Junior Engineer
    Brooklyn NY

  • 2.  RE: Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-06-2020 03:51 PM
    Thanks for starting this thread! I think the biggest thing I realized in the previous recession was that you can do everything "right" and still get laid off.  Layoffs suck all around (for both the person being laid off and the person doing the layoffs.) It's not something you can necessarily control even if you are the best engineer in your office. Worse, we often have our identities tied up in "what we do" (which seems to be a thing somewhat peculiar to the USA), so it can be hard to realize that you can't outwork or control such a situation and that our identity as an engineer is only part of who we are, not our entire reason for being.

    If it happens to you, it's important to understand that you'll go through stages of grief for the job loss. Here's a really good example of what that can look like: https://medium.com/career-relaunch/the-stages-of-grief-after-being-laid-off-4b75ad9d7036 . It's necessary to give yourself some time to breathe and accept what happened and especially that it's not your fault, especially if you're going to need to jump right into hunting for a new job. It is hard to put your best foot forward in a job hunt process if you haven't fully accepted what happened, are resenting a previous employer for the layoff, or are suffering a confidence loss because you think there is something you could have done differently.

    When you are laid off (or believe you will be soon), it's a good time to assess if you are on the right career path for you and broaden your outlook for opportunities in areas you wouldn't have thought to look otherwise. It's also a great time to focus on improving your network and double down on participation in your local ASCE or institute chapters, where you can continue to improve your leadership skills and make new connections even when out of work. I credit a reduction in hours and layoffs all around in a previous downturn for giving me the time to focus on network-building/increasing my own involvement in ASCE.

    Lastly, although it can hard to see in the moment....I believe that everything that happens is a stepping stone to something better, even if it feels like a very winding road to get there. I know of more than one entrepreneur who started their own company because they were laid off. I have a friend that started a side-hustle for extra income when she couldn't find a job in a previous downturn... those skills helped her obtain an ownership position in an engineering firm (where she is much younger than most other owners). I know of engineers who left civil consulting when they were laid off to work in other areas where they initially took a big pay cut (engineering software, for one), but now their pay ceiling is much higher than they would have ever received working in a small consulting environment. Still others who got an advanced degree and are now professors, or working in an area that they would never have had the courage to pursue had they not been laid off. Point being - even when jobs aren't plentiful, there are always opportunities to pivot or grow/improve your skills if you choose to look at a layoff as an opportunity to forge a new path.

    Stephanie Slocum P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 3.  RE: Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-07-2020 09:01 AM
    Agree above that bearing positive mind will be the best way to overcome from ''being laid off '' .

    Myint Mo Aung Min Aff.M.ASCE

  • 4.  RE: Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-08-2020 06:58 PM
    This is a tough situation for anyone to be in. There are some companies that will make it nearly impossible for you to get back into the industry. The most frustrating response you can ever get from an employer or former employer is that you had unsatisfactory performance with no reason to support it and in addition to that, to find out that you were following your supervisors instructions to bill hours according to their request. It is a harsh reality and to put it into different terms, if you are still in college and your professors, which no professor(s) would, requests that you score a 2.0 GPA for the first couple semesters during your academic years and then have you start picking your GPA up to a 3.0 or 3.5 several semesters down the road, its a nearly impossible task.

    The most difficult thing to say is to keep track of the work you have been doing and take notes of the projects you have worked on so you can have these to discuss about when you have new opportunities to look forward to. Being laid off is difficult but to run into a company that gives no leeway into a new role is why there also needs to be more diversity and inclusion in this profession. I'm sure it would leave any employee working "Why?". This shouldn't be an exclusive profession and at a time when everyone is at their worst, its terrible that others will still try to kick you. It's great to grieve but it would be nice to have something to grieve for too, not that anyone would want to.

    Oanh Le (She/Her)
    Rochdale MA

  • 5.  RE: Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-20-2020 04:57 PM
    I really don't know what I'd do if I were laid off now during the COVID-19 recession.  I'm not sure what other engineering jobs would be out there; nobody seems to be hiring.  And I have been practicing for over 30 years; who would want to hire me for anything but a specialty senior level position?  So I'd most likely have to give up on this career.  I have savings, but that will only support me and my family for 6 months even after cutting back expenses.  I'd love to go back to doing real hands-on engineering work instead of managing others, editing reports, justifying budgets, all that; but technical work by experienced professionals is frowned upon on our profession.

    Dudley McFadden P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
    Principal Civil Engineer
    Sacramento Municipal Utility District
    Roseville CA

  • 6.  RE: Being Laidoff Discussion

    Posted 08-20-2020 08:42 PM
    I didn't realize that. I always that you should always pursue and do things that you love. Shouldn't it be about "Love what you do."?

    Oanh Le (She/Her)
    Rochdale MA