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Coping Strategies For Layoff, Bonus, and Review Season


In 2023, layoffs in the tech industry were the worst, with 152,000 layoffs, up 716% from the previous year. The retail and healthcare industries were the next affected. In 2024, further layoffs have continued. 4 in 10 companies continue to anticipate layoffs this year. In addition to this, every year, there comes a time for performance reviews and bonus decisions. These affect all employees in every industry, so you are definitely not alone when it comes to anticipating the season where companies deliver big news! 

With the year just getting in full swing in March, it is hard to tell what this year will bring, but with these coping strategies, you can help put your mind at ease.

Coping Strategies for Layoff Season: 

For layoff season, a lot is at stake. When you feel the weight of responsibilities, including livelihood, partners, and families, it can be hard to continue going about your day while feeling apprehensive about this huge decision. Here are some coping strategies to help prepare your mind for when your company is in layoff season:

1. Stay informed:
Increasing your own knowledge about your company’s financial status and health, market trends, and potential restructuring plans can help you stay abreast of any incoming changes. With more information of the facts, you can make more informed decisions about your career path and take proactive steps if necessary. When anxiety is strong, sticking to the facts can be a grounding mechanism as well. If the company is in good financial standing and no restructuring plans are in place, then this can help dampen our anxiety that may be rooted in anticipation of the season. 

2. Focus on what you can control: The decision your company makes regarding layoffs are not in your control. So, what is in our control? Our hireability and sense of confidence in ourselves are aspects we can control, which can directly impact our level of anxiety in uncertain times. By investing time and energy in your professional network and skills building, we can enhance our own hireability and provide a sense of empowerment and confidence that can make the uncertainty of our futures less scary.

3. Maintain a positive mindset
: Sometimes anxiety can be paralyzing and hurt us at a crucial time. Using perspective shifting can help us stay resilient and adaptable even when we don’t know what’s coming. Practice gratitude for what you have and for what you have accomplished thus far. Focusing on your strengths as an employee can remind us of the positive and further empower us to face the outcome.

4. Lean on your support system: It may be tempting to isolate and burrow into ourselves when burdened with anxiety and panic- but in times like these it can be very helpful to lean on those who are likely going through the same things, such as your friends or colleagues. Sharing your concerns and seeking advice helps you expel any anxiety that is repressed as well as provide emotional support and other perspectives, which can also assist with grounding and normalizing your experience. It is important to know you are not the only one going through something. Layoffs affect everyone and it is important to let yourself share in this anxiety and not hold it as your own. Surrounding yourself with those who love you, such as family and friends, can also remind us that even in the face of adversity, we have a support system, a great reminder that we are not alone. 

Tips to Prepare for Reviews:

Review and bonus season can also be a source of anxiety. Whether it’s the idea of having a one-on-one meeting with your manager, discussion of your performance, and/or confrontation of issues that incites the nerves in you, preparation is key. Here are some helpful tips to prepare yourself for reviews and bonus seasons.

1. Manage your expectations:
While such reviews and bonuses are important, it is essential to manage your expectations realistically. Thoroughly review the criteria used for evaluations and be prepared for constructive criticism. Reflect on your past performance and your strengths and weaknesses. This can help your mind prepare for the review, especially the constructive feedback.

2. Separate shame from growth: It can be easy to take any negative feedback and internalize it as you being a poor employee. If the review doesn't meet your expectations, remind yourself that this is an opportunity for growth, rather than dwelling on the disappointment and internalizing any shame. We can choose to hear constructive criticism in a way that affects us personally, or in a way that reminds us we don’t often have the full picture. When things don’t go our way, it can be easy to react defensively. This is a natural reaction to protect ourselves and our status. However, it can be more beneficial to pause and ask yourself what you can learn from this different perspective and use it to your advantage. No single mistake is likely to be deadly: Embrace the challenges as stepping stones to success rather than setbacks!

3. Don’t stop seeking feedback: Throughout the year and not just during review season, actively seeking feedback from your peers, supervisors, and mentors can help you adequately build confidence and set realistic expectations for the review season when it arrives. Consistent and constructive feedback can help you raise awareness of any blind spots you may have and continuously improve your performance.

Layoff, bonus and review seasons are understandably very challenging times in the workplace, but with the right mindset and coping strategies, you can prepare yourself for the unknown with confidence and empowerment. With these tips, you can even turn these seasons into opportunities for personal and professional growth. Remember, your worth as an individual is not defined by your job, performance review or bonus amount. Talk to your therapist about your specific concerns and anxieties that arise during these times.