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Tech Workers, Layoffs, and Mental Health

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50 years ago, it was assumed that someone would move into a role and keep it as a career for the rest of their life. Today, job longevity is far from the norm, with most people staying with each employer for just 4.1 years. That lack of stability is further heightened by the fact that people often don’t leave those jobs voluntarily. Instead, restructuring, changes to technology, and an increasing reliance on automation and AI mean that roles simply stop existing. Employees are given the choice between changing jobs or moving to another company – and for many of us, that prospect is in our near future no matter what our role.

If you’re experiencing anxiety and uncertainty about your future, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are struggling with prospective job loss, potential layoffs, and uncertain futures. Factors like restructuring, changing technologies, mergers, and even global pandemics all make that worse. It’s normal and natural to feel stress and anxiety over potential job loss, a current layoff, or looking for work in an uncertain job environment. The important thing is that you acknowledge that you will have these feelings and take steps to improve your mental health and take care of yourself.

Layoffs Linked to Anxiety, Depression, and Reduced Life Satisfaction

Most people are aware that losing a job is difficult and depressing. But, being unemployed creates a risk of psychological trauma. It also decreases financial stability, leading to further increased stress and depression. Many people connect their ability to take pay for themselves and their family to their ability to provide and take care of themselves and their family and not being able to do so can be a difficult thing to process. In addition, financial hardship always means increased stress and anxiety – because the future is uncertain.

That psychological hit in turn goes on to negatively impact your hunt for a new job. It’s difficult to prioritize motivation and personal development when you’re worried about making rent. It’s also difficult to prioritize applying for jobs if you’re stressed, depressed, and feel like a failure.

The thing is, the risk of layoff in a modern environment is very real. It’s natural to feel anxiety. However, in a changing landscape, it’s also important to work towards taking care of your mental health and towards understanding that the world is changing – that doesn’t mean you’re a failure – it means the world is changing.

  • 95 million jobs will be displaced by AI before 2025 – but this will create 125 million different jobs
  • 54% of the total workforce will require new skills
  • 50% of all companies will cut workforce
  • 48% of all companies will outsource roles to contractors

At the same time, those roles are being displaced. It means that while your job may become irrelevant, new jobs are opening up – and those roles desperately need people to fill them.

company meeting about upskilling and reskilling

Upskilling and Reskilling

An estimated 54% of all existing roles will no longer exist as we know them as soon as 2025. While, in many organizations, that leads to a shift towards layoffs and reducing redundant roles – in many others, it means reskilling and upskilling employees. AI typically requires significant management and direction – so the same people who previously created content are the best experts to provide that guidance.

At the same time, investing in personal development requires motivation and self-confidence. It means understanding that you are not replaceable, only your current skillsets are. Yet, many people feel increasingly replaceable, which means they feel less and less able or willing to invest in personal development. The result is that less than 34% of employees at any given organization will take part in reskill and upskill initiatives, even when it means losing a role at the company instead.

Deloitte tracks that lack of investment to a combination of low self-esteem, too few skills and training tracks available in workplace upskill programs, and lack of enthusiasm or motivation for changing careers. Many also don’t offer the mental health support and psychological support which are deemed critical to success in reskill and upskill initiatives.

Getting Mental Health Support

Mental health support during a layoff or job loss can be critical. Therapy and counseling can help you to understand yourself, to improve your self-esteem, to develop healthy coping mechanisms to anxiety, and to build motivation for change. Whether that’s because of potential and upcoming layoffs surrounding automation and changes at work or because you’ve already lost a job and are hesitant to move into a new career path doesn’t matter. It’s important that you get the emotional and mental support to cope with those changes while they happen – so that you can build resilience, choose a new direction from a point of stability, and have the energy and focus to invest in your new career path.

The need for skilled and intelligent human work is not going anywhere. But, the skills required are changing, and that means people are being asked to change to meet the needs of new roles.

That means:

  • Going through motivational therapy to help you improve mood, stability, and motivation
  • Finding coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Developing goals and sustainable plans for your future
  • Working with a coach to determine what new skills fit your aptitude
  • Encouraging uptake of offerings available from your workplace, including opportunities to learn new skills, competencies, etc., without burning out

While most workplaces offer a small amount of psychological support or offerings, most don’t offer enough as part of restructurings and layoffs. Therefore, you might want to seek out the coaching and therapy you need for good mental health support on your own – although your employee insurance may pay for it.

If you’re facing anxiety about job stability or the future of your career, you’re far from alone. Millions of people are facing changes to their jobs, their career paths, and even the future of work in their current role – it’s a natural and normal part of facing a large amount of change. Navigating that change is traumatic and you may benefit from mental health support, coaching, and learning coping mechanisms and strategies to help you stay motivated, mentally healthy, and ready to navigate your changing work world.

If you or a loved one needs help with mental health treatmentdrug rehab, or alcohol rehab Compassion Recovery Center is here to help. Contact us to ask about our modern and effective treatment programs.

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