Have you ever been laid off?

At the company I work for, management has announced that there will be layoffs in my department by the end of this year. For anyone that’s been laid off before, is seniority or performance generally favored? Having been with the company for just over 5 years, I believe I have the lowest seniority, as many have been with the company for 10, 20 or even 30 years. However, I am usually ranked within the top 20% to 30% each month for performance (our manager provides monthly rankings to us each month).

I love my job and I don’t want to leave it, so any insight would be appreciated.

It depends on the situation, and to be honest, it’s hard to say for sure what might happen at your company without knowing EXACT specifics.

Unionized workers, of course, will almost always be laid off in accordance with seniority. In professional situations it may go by performance, but more usually decisions will be made based on how the organization plans to restructure. Layoffs are sometimes gebneral (e.g. cutting 20% across the board) or organizational (e.g. we’ll cut this department, that department, and fold that division into this division.) You can be a good performer but if they don’t need that role filled anymore, well, there it is. If on the other hand they need your job done, the layoffs may not include you.

Been through it twice in the last 2 years.

For me?

  1. Got hired at a time when high-tech was booming and could write my own ticket re. salary. When times got rough they knew they could replace me and pay less: so they did.

  2. Company got bought out by another company and me, along with many others, were considered redundant.

Shit happens. I was gainfully employed for 20 years before I got nailed the first time. Lots of my colleagues faired worse. Don’t take it personally if it happens, and remember, NETWORKING is the only way to find a job these days.

Have I ever been laid off? Yes, at least four times.

Each time was, as RickJay so aptly put it, general or organizational. High-tech field; such things happen. It was never personal, nor was it due to bad performance. It was just a business decision–one I didn’t necessarily agree with, but which the econonic terms of the time dictated. (I’ve been through two recessions: the early 80s and the early 90s, and in the latter I survived in spite of Ontario’s socialist NDP government. 'Nuff said about that for now.)

Best advice? Burn no bridges. On your last day, put a smile on your face, shake hands all around, take any references/recommendations you can get, and clear out. The next business day, file for unemployment insurance, and get looking for that next job.

Good luck!

I’ve never been laid off (knock on wood) but I’ve been involved in them. It all depends on he company. Often entire divisions go, except for a few essential people, when a project is canceled. Sometimes it is done partially on performance. Usually at least some highly ranked people are protected. I’ve never seen youth being a disadvantage, actually. You guys are cheaper than us old guys. Often a package is set up to buy out those with a certain amount of service. Most companies try not to make it general, since those with the best chances of finding a job leave with a lot of dough. (I did.)
So, if only a few people are going to leave, you might be okay. Who in his right mind would lay off a young, cheap person in the top 20% to save an old, expensive person in the bottom 20%? But that’s being rational, and rationality is not at all guaranteed.

Good luck, anyhow. By being highly rated, you did the best preparing you could. You might check the job listings, just in case, though.

I’ve been laid off on several occasions.

Having worked in the auto industry in the eighties and early nineties, regular layoffs during the model change were a common occurance until moving to a position in quality assurance and the methods lab…that was when those departments swung into overtime. I got hit on the second round of permanent layoffs about a year before the plant closed. They went by seniority. I was offered a position in our Monterrey, Mexico plant, but opted for a severance package instead.

About five years ago, I worked for a distribution center in the tech industry. When one of our main customers started to swirl around the bowl, we began downsizing. The first department hit was mine. It was totally eliminated. I survived the first three rounds of cuts (they went with the orginizational method) by being moved to different departments (they could use my job skills in most areas of the facility). I got hit on the fourth round.

I took my severance package and unemployment compensation and found a new job.

Wishing you success in finding another position!

How much do you make compared to coworkers?

That’s what happened to my dad. There were rumors of layoffs and his boss assured him that their department was not involved and that he had just gotten impressive marks on their last performance review. His job wasn’t in jeopardy, yadda, yadda…

The his boss came around later that week and straight tells him after 15 years that he’s being laid off. Replaced by someone with less seniority and therefore cheaper.

He took a 20% paycut but likes his new job much better.

To your initial question,yes,but due to business failure in one case,and employer ethics in the other,resolved by NLRB.
To address the gist of your post.Any sort of union/political situation will go by seniority,or whose butt you’re smooching.
If they retain by merit and industriousness,you’d be one of the last.I often saw older,more senior guys get the pink slip.

Was laid off in 2006, although I was originally on the “keep” list. We had been bought out by another company. The people who were kept were chosen based on who could keep the product running the best. (I dunno why, since they were planning on shutting the product down.)

I’ve been laid off many times. When I lived in Ontario a decade ago, I was all too familiar with the part of the industrial sector that survives by hiring people and letting them work 89 days, then laying them off. If you’re there 90 days and beyond, they have to pay your benefits. So they have maybe two full-time employees, and everybody else works up until the last day before you’d have a real job there. It was a continual revolving-door kind of setup. 89 days was not long enough to be able to collect unemployment insurance, you’d have to go on welfare, after a waiting period (your punishment for having had a job). It happened to nearly everyone I knew up there.

I was laid off once, from a job I had for 15+ years. I had some warning it was coming, but it still caught me by surprise. They put me through outplacement and gave me 2 weeks pay. Big deal. I was unemployed from mid-May to the end of October.

I dealt with depression and near-bankruptcy along the way. My idle time ended when I landed what I thought was a dream job (it was a good one, but not what I’m cut out for), and moved to the Old South of the US, a dream I held for a long time. Also, to be honest, I was planning to leave the job that laid me off in another year, after I completed a formal course of study.

I hated every minute of it, but I could do it again and handle it better, not that I want to. Good things can happen from a layoff if you’re patient and look for them.

Been laid off twice.

First time, I was working for a tiny little company owned & ran by one man. One small minded, technologically incompetent, massively egotistical, completely free from the burden of conscience or morals, man. My first job out of college. I didn’t actually realize it at the time, but the company was circling the drain when I got there, it just took 6 months to flush. His business practices would gag a rat. He laid people off one at a time until everyone was gone.

Second time, I took a job across the country, cuz I could. I was there 6 months when the company ‘didn’t meet their expected profits’ and started cutting costs with a large dull scythe. They laid off half the building in one stroke, and since I was the most recently hired in my department, I was the first to go. So I ended up unemployed with almost a year’s experience in IT in Seattle during the bubble crash. Even McDonalds was laying people off.

You are just a number to the company you work for. If they thought for a second that they could get even a penny’s more profit by getting rid of you they would. Your loyalty to them ends right at the end of your paycheck. You work for them, they pay you, and that’s it.

They may actually lay off the workers with more seniority because they get paid more than you.

Also, I got laid off in 2006, come April in 2007 I had a nasty suprise due to the fact that NY, did not take any taxes out of my unemployment benefit. (nor did they take NY City tax out) but they did expect me to pay tax on it.

I got laid off once. It sucked ass. I made the most money so I was one of the first to go. Still makes me bitter to this day. Raises were based on production and motivation. Worked a lot of hours off the record to get to that point and all that got me was a pink slip.

Workers with seniority are often at risk because they get paid more and because they cost more in terms of health insurance.

Been laid off once after 30 years. I saw the guns being loaded and maneuvered myself in front of a bullet. It took some serious under the table work since the catch 22 policy was that you couldn’t volunteer for a layoff.


1 - I was tired of the job and most importantly the environment

2 - I was right at the maximum allowable severance package

3 - I had confidence in my ability to find comparable work at a competitive salary.

I got fired, took the summer off and traveled, came back home and found a job, worked it for four months, got a better offer and now have a job that all of my previous coworkers envy greatly.
Your layoff experiences may vary but mine was one of the best moves in my lifetime.

Why is that? Don’t companies pay the same premium for all employees with the same benifits package?

The rate that the insurance company charges the employer can depend on the age mix of the employees. The insurance company asks the age mix and then quotes a per-person rate. The employer can’t pass the age differential on to employees.

I was once in a government work/study program where you were supposed to work fulltime and take classes part time for two years and then be hired by the place that you worked for. The government was supposed to pay for everything (salary & classes) for two years.

The program went bust after nine months.

It was the best time of my life, and the nine months I spent on unemployment after it the second best.

Last time I was laid off, it was in a 10% RIF that seemed to choose people at random. The bosses buddy who was several rungs above me on the ladder got RIF’d at the same time. He threw a fit and was escorted out, I told the boss that I understood it wasn’t his doing and that I was looking forward to having the holidays off (I got a nice severance package). They let me roam around the building for the rest of the day telling people goodbye and gathering up my stuff. 4 months later they hired me back with a raise and promotion, the guy that took it personally is a joke around here now.

The point of that was, as Spoons said, “burn no bridges”.

Also that it was not seniority based. I was redundant at the time, and he was a jerk, so I suspect both of those played more of a role than just seniority.