January 19, 2011
Would you attend your own layoff party?
[Photo by Flashy Soup Can]
One of the laid-off, my pal was unsure whether she should -- or even wanted to -- attend her own sendoff. As she and several of our mutual friends saw it, the reasons to skip the party abounded. Their top explanations follow:
It's insulting. Management can't afford to keep you, but they can afford to pay for a catered goodbye party? A paid day off would be preferable.
It's awkward. Your co-workers who didn't get laid off may not know what to say to you. Even worse, they may ask what you plan to do next. If you're not sure, things could get really awkward, especially if your best response is, "Pursue at least three jobs a week so the unemployment checks keep coming."
You don't like half the people you work with anyway. Besides, you've already said your goodbyes to those officemates you do plan to stay in touch with and collected the necessary contact info.
That's not to say I endorse RSVP'ing to such a sendoff with your regrets. There are ample reasons to attend your own bon voyage party before your layoff takes effect:
You'll leave a positive impression. Skip the party and it may come off as sour grapes. Attend and you'll appear gracious, diplomatic, and able to handle yourself with dignity in the most adverse of situations. Why burn a bridge and risk getting a lousy reference from this employer if you don't have to?
It's a good networking opportunity. As mentioned, people probably won't be able to resist asking what you plan to do next. If your plans include freelancing, contracting, consulting, or starting your own business, you're in the right place to chat up potential new clients or customers.
It may be your best opportunity to say goodbye. Sure, you'll have a less formal lunch or round of drinks with your close office buddies. But this may be your only chance to bid adieu to some of the members of management and company execs. Use it wisely -- whether it's a recommendation, a job lead, a new client, or an introduction to another colleague in the field you seek.
Readers, what's your take on an employer throwing a farewell shindig for the laid-off? Do you think it's thoughtful or thoughtless? If you were among the laid-off, would you attend?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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