Layoffs, Downsizing & Recreating Yourself

by Debbie Ruston, Featured Contributor

Society has been conditioned to believe the only way to work is to be employed by an employer. Most that have bought into this belief see this as “job security”.

The reality in today’s economic climate is there is no such thing as job security. People from all sectors that thought they would be working their entire careers in their job, are finding themselves laid off or downsized.  Very often after securing new employment, the pattern repeats itself after a couple of years and they find themselves in the same situation. Others wait 2, 3 years putting out resume after resume, waiting for someone to hire them or government to provide solutions.

One of the most overlooked possibilities is starting your own business. There are so many talented, experienced people going through change due to downsizing or layoffs that do not recognize how capable they are of starting their own businesses. The “fear” of risk and steppreinventing out on your own has been so ingrained into society that even when people have a deep down desire, they are too afraid to take action.  These type of questions go through a person’s mind:

– what if it doesn’t work?
– I don’t have the investment
– what if I can’t find customers÷
– what if I fail÷

When you work for an employer and their business is not doing well, you have zero control over finding new clients or making the changes necessary to turn that business around.  The control ultimately lies in the hands of the owners of that business. If they are not willing to make necessary changes, or do what it takes to find new customers, you will be affected. This is not job security.  This is a false belief so ingrained into society it has destroyed people’s internal confidence to take personal responsibility for their own futures.

In the world we live in today there are so many new opportunities. A person can choose to re-invent themselves and take a new direction. It starts with developing the mindset necessary to take on a higher level of leadership and personal responsibility in one’s life.  It requires asking yourself new/better questions. A new business may be different from the exact role you used to play as an employee.  To get started, one must ask themselves what skills do I have, what are my interests, experience and passions?  Make a list of these things and start asking better questions. What are all the things I could do with this list?  Perhaps you are going to take a different direction. Change creates new opportunities.

Another option is freelancing, which is another way to be self employed.  Rather than putting all your eggs in one employers basket, offer your experience to many businesses.  Businesses today do not want to hire full time and do not want to pay benefits. By freelancing, you have the opportunity to work for many employers so if one falls off, you are not totally out of work. You simply replace that contract and you are back on track.  Very often freelancing gives a person the opportunity to earn far more than they ever would have made working for a single employer. It also creates the opportunity to build a global freelance business rather than focusing on one geographical area.  For instance a web designer, consultant, office admin, etc etc can all do work from a home office for anyone globally. There are possibilities for any field…you simply must start thinking outside of the limitations you perceive.

The only way you can truly secure your future is being willing to be the one that takes full responsibility for creating your own work. Realize the value you have and stop buying into this false belief of “job security”.  YOU are the only one that can create your own job security.


Debbie Ruston
Debbie Ruston
ENTREPRENEUR, International Trainer, Visionary Leader – Debbie has been a successful entrepreneur, since 1986 and believes in taking an active stand for true human potential. As the owner of The Success Educator, Debbie has spent her career helping individuals discover their limitations and overcome them and assists people globally in starting their own businesses. She also has a personal passion for education reform and providing youth the knowledge required to succeed in today's changed world.

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  1. “These type of questions go through a person’s mind:”

    And none of those issues are dealt with, in this article. Just blithely dismissed as “fear” instead of actual real issues that need to be dealt with.

    “Another option is freelancing”

    Yes, good idea. But you’ll get the label of “job hopper” and rejected for long term positions.

    Also, freelancing does not give you the opportunity to learn new things, they only hire consultants who actually HAVE the skills. They don’t train them.

    Oh, you COULD learn it yourself, then get rejected for not having “experience” when applying for contract jobs with that skillset.