Depression and anxiety followed by anger and a feeling of betrayal are the initial responses of people who are laid off, and a quick job hunt and willingness to retrain and relocate are the best remedies, a survey released Friday concluded.
The survey was taken among approximately 500 laid-off workers in two locations, the Pittsburgh area and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and was the subject of an article in the September issue of Personnel Journal, a trade publication catering to senior level human resources executives.The first reaction felt by nearly 75 percent was a combination of depression and anxiety, the survey found. Right behind were anger and a feeling of betrayal.
More than 75 percent of the respondents had received outstanding performance evaluations at their last personnel appraisals, the magazine said. As a result, both those laid off and the survivors viewed the layoffs as arbitrary in nature and politically motivated.
Many of those who kept their jobs felt guilty about being spared and anger at management for causing the layoffs.
More than 50 percent of those laid off reported eating substantially more while 25 percent reported an increase in drinking and smoking. Ten percent reported taking more pills to relax.
Nearly 25 percent reported severe financial difficulties, including 10 percent who had to sell their homes, 5 percent who lost their homes because of mortgage foreclosures and 7 percent who reported moving in with relatives.
The magazine reported nearly two fifths had to take a pay cut of at least 30 percent to become employed and nearly one fifth were working for less than 50 percent of their former salaries.
Seventy-five percent of those laid off were still unemployed at the time of the survey, some for as long as two years.
On a more positive note, one sixth of those contacted reported they found better jobs. For some, particularly the younger, better-educated workers, job loss provided the stimulus they needed to get out of a rut and try a new opportunity.
Nearly 50 percent undertook further education or training in order to better equip themselves for competition in the job market.
Although most of those laid off dreaded the prospect of having to look for a new job, 75 percent initiated their own job searches by answering help wanted notices or using job placement sources.
Based on their experiences, the authors of the article, Carrie Leana of the University of Pittsburgh and Daniel Feldman of University of Florida at Miami, concluded that there are three critical factors in finding new employment:
Getting off to a rapid start and relocating within the first six months following a layoff.
Being willing to retrain and relocate.
Avoiding personal excesses involving use of alcohol, drugs, smoking or overeating.