Stop shooting yourself in the foot.
Fired vs. Laid off: What's the difference?
The word ‘layoff' gets thrown about very easily, especially when times are tough and the unemployment rate is high, but getting laid off and getting fired aren't the same thing.
- Getting fired – when a person is let go from a company, often due to their poor performance, without any hope of being rehired
Example: if he hadn't resigned first, David Sokol probably would have been fired by Berkshire Hathaway for violating their ethical code of conduct by buying shares in a company that he knew Berkshire would purchase.
- Getting laid off – when a person is let go from a company, usually due to their company's poor performance, with the possibility of being rehired if the company's performance improves
Example: my entire team of web developers and I were laid off in early 2006, as my employer hoped to save money by outsourcing our work.
When I was laid off, it took me a little while to feel comfortable talking about it, and that was after knowing the layoff was coming for over 6 months (!).
However, once I got used to the idea that the layoff wasn't my fault and I couldn't have prevented it, it became a lot easier to answer every job interviewer's 2nd question of “why did you leave your last company?” (the 1st question being “how are you doing today?” of course).
Why you're not allowed to be embarrassed about your layoff
Here's what I mean.
I regularly encourage job seekers to blog as a great way to build their personal brand by showing off their expertise, meeting and networking with new professional contacts, learning new skills and improving old ones, etc., and hopefully even attracting the attention of their eventual employer. I try to do my part as a blogger by inviting and allowing job seekers to come guest post here.
I was once contacted by one such job seeker who had successfully blogged his way to a job. Now that he was working, he wanted me to remove any mention of him from his layoff-connected guest post. Of course I respected his wishes and anonymized the article, but I also told him:
“I don't think this is a good move. There's no reason to be embarrassed by having been laid off. And, by covering up your job search achievements – and guest posts of this quality are such achievements, proof of continued productivity, expertise and more – you're essentially creating more of a resume gap.”
This guy had done a good job on his job search and now he wanted to sweep this success under the rug, because he still hadn't overcome the embarrassment of why he was on the job search in the first place.
Why is this a bad idea?
Aside from the reasons I gave him in my reply, there's one more that's a secret of good employers.
- Good employers are always a little worried that their good employees will leave them, and to prevent that from happening, the employers go the extra mile to keep those employees happy.
If the proof of your successful job searching abilities are available for all to see, your employer will know that you'll be less hesitant to leave than your colleagues, and as a result, your employer will go that extra mile to keep you.
Question of the article
Are you embarrassed about your layoff? Why? Tell us in the comments. If you don't want to leave your name, that's fine.
I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.