HR Pros: Could You Still Be Laid Off Due to the Pandemic? Use this Cheat Sheet to Find Out.

The pandemic is still with us. Is your job still at risk?

by Alan Collins

“You lied to me!”

Those were the first words a former colleague of mine — a Regional Employee Relations Director — yelled at her boss, after he informed her job was being eliminated due to the pandemic.

This happened months ago, during their weekly one-on-one update meeting on Skype.

Two minutes into their meeting was when he broke the bad news to her.

He told her she wasn’t alone.

Their company, a Fortune 500 airline company, would be eliminating the jobs of 200 salaried staff employees due to pandemic.

He went on to explain that these cutbacks were necessary because the company was bleeding cash. Due to the pandemic, there were just too many empty seats on planes.

They had lost revenues for the second quarter in a row and the CEO mandated that every department cut costs to the bone.

Sadly, her position was one of the 200 that had to be whacked.

Let’s be clear. 

She wasn’t naive.  

She knew the organization was in trouble.  

In fact, she had been conducting termination meetings for months with her own clients.

So, she had witnessed first hand many of her close friends and colleagues leaving the organization.

But never in a million years did she think that her OWN JOB was in jeopardy!

After all, she was a senior HR leader with ten years of experience.

She had built great relationships and was outstanding performer.

And besides, her boss promised her he’d let her know right away if her own job was in jeopardy.  That’s what ticked her off.  She didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. She felt blindsided and that’s why she lashed out at him.

Her boss admitted he was shocked too at the corporate mandate that he had to cut even more staff.

In the end, she got a nice severance package and generous outplacement support.

Nevertheless, she left the organization absolutely pissed.

However, the person she was angry with most was herself — primarily because she ignored all the signals that her job was in jeopardy.

 *    *    *

Why am I sharing this with you now?

Well, because all that happened months ago.

Things have changed.

Since that time, more people have gotten vaccinated and more people are flying on airplanes.

We’ve now gotten use to living with this damn pandemic.

However, more importantly for her, a few weeks after she was let go, she landed a new job.

Her new role was a lateral move with comparable pay and benefits.

However, her new organization is a two-year old start up, with a great CEO, a brighter future and a great culture.

And, because it didn’t require her to move — she was absolutely ecstatic!

But she learned an important lesson. “I’ll never make that same damn mistake again. I’ll be much more aware of the warning signs that it’s time to get my resume ready!”

*    *    *

What’s the big lesson here?

Well, it’s the obvious one.

No matter how comfortable you feel in your current role, things change in an INSTANT.

Whether it’s due to the pandemic or NOT…

You can lose your HR job at ANY time,
for ANY reason, even if you’re a
great performer. 

And without warning, you may
NOT know if you’re personally
impacted, until you’re told! 

So, don’t get caught unprepared.

If there is handwriting on the wall,
you’ve got to be able to spot it quickly
…and then take action to deal with it,
BEFORE it deals with you!

To help, below is a “one-page cheat sheet” which outlines the indicators you should watch.  If more than 4 of them are present at the same time, consider your current position in jeopardy and time to polish up HR resume.

*    *    *

Here’s the cheat sheet…

DOWNLOAD it and KEEP it handy on all your devices (phone, laptop, tablet) for future reference. 

*    *    *

*    *    *

Here’s how YOU can use it:

(1) Use it to guide and coach you in your personal interactions with your current boss.

(2) Again, keep it handy on your all devices (phone, laptop, tablet) for future reference.

(3) Forward it to colleagues you know who would welcome having this information as a heads up.

(4) Use it any way you want!

Again, don’t allow yourself to get caught flat-footed.

Don’t permit yourself to get lied to!

Watch the warning signs and prepare yourself ahead of time.

Just sayin’.


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When those warning signs are present and it’s time to update your resume, check out: HR RESUME SECRETS:  How to Create An Irresistible Human Resources Resume That Will Open Doors, Wow Hiring Managers & Get You Interviews! 

You can get more information about the book by CLICKING HERE.

About the Author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling HR books including HR RESUME SECRETS.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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4 Responses to “HR Pros: Could You Still Be Laid Off Due to the Pandemic? Use this Cheat Sheet to Find Out.”

  1. Paul Says:

    In summary, this story teaches us one lesson. ‘As we hope for the best now, we should also be preparing for the worse in the next moment’.

  2. Alan Says:

    Well said, Paul.

  3. caroline bowes Says:

    Thanks Alan! 6 of these apply to our firm and it’s a wake up call. I believe they need me to help them through these tough times. What was I thinking! – as you have said loyalty is for family and recently I have laid off many of the partners friends and key roles. Time to polish up the cv and see what’s out there. No harm in a having a few conversations!

  4. Alan Collins Says:

    Caroline, you’re spot on. There’s no harm in having a few conversations.