27% of College Grads are Unnecessarily Worried About Being Laid off

The New York Times tells us this morning that "the dread of being unemployed can actually be worse than the reality of being laid off."

When you're laid off, you launch yourself into action. When you're worried about being laid off, you feel powerless.

Job insecurity, the Times tells us "reduces both physical and mental health, increases burnout, reduces job satisfaction and decreases work performance." It also increases the number of workplace accidents.

The Times again:

A study released in November . . . found that threats or the perceived threats of layoffs caused workers to pay less attention to safety and [to] experience more injuries and accidents at work.

The news that people are so afraid of losing their jobs that they don't report workplace injuries and are less likely to seek support from company wellness programs and counseling is disturbing.

In the course of speaking and consulting with women about raises and promotions, we learn that many are so afraid of being replaced by the unemployed that they haven't asked for a raise in years even as their responsibilities have grown.

How Much Should You Fear Lay Off?

Let's start with the bad news. If you look at the entire U.S. job market, your risk of being laid off is somewhere between 9 and 14%. But if you are a college graduate or earn more than $100,000 a year, your chances of being laid off drop to 6%. That's only a five percent greater chance than being killed in an automobile accident

And the layoff statistic applicable to most of our readers - six percent - doesn't figure in the fact that the vast majority of our readers are within the 20% of all employees who are engaged in their work.

Who is an engaged employee?

Engaged employees, we're told, "feel pride and loyalty (attitude); [are] great advocate[s] of their company to clients, [and] go the extra mile to finish a piece of work (behavior)." As I've written here before, management consulting firms are telling employers that engaged employees must be retained this year and they should be willing to incentivize those workers to stay by offering them benefits, flex-time, raises and promotions.

If you're an engaged worker, and we assume our readers are, it's long past time for you to stop worrying about being laid off or being replaced by the dozens of the ready, willing and able unemployed qualified for your job.

And if the Jill Abramson contretemps has made you wary of negotiating better work conditions, more money and greater opportunities, learn how to negotiate effectively.