Laid Off: 3 Terrible Ways Your Ego is Getting In The Way

“I’m not going to fast-food, that’s for sure!”  This is a phrase I heard during an economic downturn in 2014 from clients who had been recently been laid off. I’m hearing a lot of similar stuff right now during this 2020 pandemic. I get it! It’s tough out there!

Why: Being Laid Off is Tough!

Being laid off is hard (although some folks do find it to be a relief too) and losing a job that pays well, with a nice title and salary all play into this phrase of not wanting to do certain work.

The question I ask is, “If you are in this state 12 months from now will you work at fast-food then?”  It is hard to believe that you could be laid off for that long, but it is happening. I have some clients that went from being laid off in an economic downturn to having limited opportunities moving into a pandemic.

Laid Off

Speaking of Ego

The first definition of ego speaks to morale and is clearly speaking about those that are motivated by having the job, any job!  The second definition of ego speaks to those people who just can’t bring themselves to do something until the right opportunity does come around.

To have pride in work or abilities is perfectly healthy and encouraged.  It shows having levels of self-worth.  After all wouldn’t you want a medical doctor with a high image of themselves with good morale?

To have pride in work or abilities to the point where it prevents you from sustaining your own livelihood is ridiculous. Usually, this comes from a place of insecurity, “what will others think.”  I find people who are busy monitoring and judging what others are thinking are really self-projecting their own deep-rooted lack of self-worth. It’s a shame they can’t seem to see the difference between healthy pride and plain old ego.

Most people at some time in their life have to do something in the meantime.  There is a great book by Iyanla Vanzant called “In The Meantime” that speaks directly to this.  If you don’t believe me, look at what some of the stars have had to do in the meantime.

I am not suggesting that everyone should work at fast food as their first stop when they are laid off.  What I am suggesting is that at some point we have to check the ego at the door and move forward with the mantra “what kind of life do I want now.”  Because the old life is gone.  When this doesn’t happen, in the beginning, the ego keeps us there, in the end, it is ultimately the ego that suffers.

Laid Off: Check your pride and ego

3 Types of Laid-Off People

I can subjectively boil those who are laid off into 3 categories:

  1. The first, are those who are willing to do whatever it takes to close the income and resume gap.
  2. Next are those who want to wait and see if they can get something in their chosen field but will look for other opportunities after a period of time to something to close the gap. (This group is usually running out of Employment Insurance, and it’s the group I recommend being in. Although, most wait too long to take action and Employment Insurance runs out much faster than they can get a job).
  3. Finally, those who will wait and see and continue to wait and see until a year or more has gone by.  Now they have gaps on their resume, an empty bank account, and wonder why they still can’t seem to find a job when the economy picks back up. <– this group has allowed their ego to get in the way

I get it! The job search is inhumane and painful.

3 Ways Your Ego Is Getting In The Way

Laid Off: What are you willing to do?

… and what to do about it!

If you are in the third group above, and you keep waiting for a job, you need to read this story.

One of my clients was laid off from a Senior Director role. For a long time, she wouldn’t take mid-level management positions because it wasn’t “strategic enough”, would damage her reputation, and would pay too little.

The question is this ego or job pride?

The answer? It doesn’t matter. In the end, she lost her home, collecting bottles, and working part-time at the coffee shop. She was an awesome lady! AMAZING in fact! But her ego got in the way of her acting quickly enough.

She let her ego get in the way in the following three ways:

  1. She felt she was too good to do certain kinds of jobs – What to do about it? If your offered wage is above Employment Insurance, then take the job as a stopgap!
  2. She felt it would damage her resume and reputation – What to do about it? You can choose to put “RELEVANT EXPERIENCE” on your resume rather than “ALL EXPERIENCE”
  3. She felt she was worth more money and title – What to do about it? Use a new role as a stopgap. Don’t take it personally and “coast” until you can find a new role!

My Recommendation?

It’s going to take time to find a new job, especially these days… so my suggestion is to act as quickly as you can because we just don’t know how long it’s going to take to land something.

strategic leader coaching logo 2023
Leave a Google Review for
Strategic Leader Coaching
Write A Review