5 Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Been Laid Off During This Lockdown
The other day, as I sat watching a documentary on television that talked about cars and their engines, I noticed myself drawing a rather unusual parallel between life and cars. Going from 0 to 100 in less than a few seconds, it was then when it struck me, how our life too can probably be measured in the same terms, except ours has gone from a 100 to 0 in less than eight weeks.
Over the last two months, most of us have had our lives turned upside down. Falling into the lap of a pandemic that caught us with our pants down, as we were all spit balled into a situation where we could no longer anticipate what was going to happen and what made it worse was that the economy took the biggest hit across the world. With dozens of companies in India, starting from start-ups and going up to the big shark and MNCs, major layoffs or salary cuts have been already put into place as the world economy hangs by a feeble thread.
Also Read : A Month Into This Lockdown Situation, And I Feel Like I Finally May Be Able To Handle This Better Mentally
And as Indians who have an approach of not taking anything seriously unless it happens with you or someone you know, I too did not understand the gravity of it all until I heard about some of my closest friends losing their jobs, courtesy this lockdown. Seeing people around me get hurt and then terminated during such troubled circumstances, at a time when hiring has been put on freeze and companies are going under, I realised there is only so much I can do from a distance to offer comfort. And talking to them about it was perhaps the only thing in my control, however keeping in mind what I must and must not say. Here are 5 things not to say to someone who has been laid off-
“I know how it feels“
Unless you too have faced the unfortunate crisis of being laid off during a pandemic, no, you don’t know how it feels. And you must never go on to start a conversation with someone by trying to tell them you know of their pain. Yes, there needs to be compassion and sympathy, but treading along the lines of empathy can be a little annoying and make the other person feel as though you are not being sensitive towards their situation.
“How did they do it?”
You could be speaking from a place of concern and in fact making sure that they at least got the fair end of the termination, but asking too many questions about the lay off from a person, can come off as rather intrusive and rude. Wait for the other person to share as much as they are comfortable with, and don’t ask as much as offer comfort with what you already know. Allow them to open up at their own pace.
“You’re not alone in this“
Yes, the world is currently under an economic depression and companies across the globe are downsizing their operations. But, you bringing that up trying to say how they are not the only ones facing the brunt of this virus could might as well mean you’re being impersonal and insensitive to them in a time like this. Don’t draw a comparison, for that could lead them to feel un-important or think of their situation not grave enough to feel bad about.
“It could be much worse“
We may think that bringing in worst scenarios to the equation to help in making them feel better or feel grateful for what they have left but it rarely has that effect. The last thing a person who is going through an unfair termination needs to hear is you giving them all the possibilities that could make their situation worse, because according to them, even this one is bad enough and you need to respect it.
“When it happened to me“
We understand that you would only be trying to explain from your own experience, but in such situations it is best to stick to their feelings and not make it about yourself. Wait for a better time till they are composed, to pass on those words of wisdom and for now, just hear them out patiently as they speak about their loss.