Feeling Anxious During This Economic Uncertainty? Here Are Tips on How to Deal With Layoffs and More

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Sarah Tilley. Photo courtesy of ServiceNow.

Sarah Tilley. Photo courtesy of ServiceNow.

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June 23, 2024 at 11:31AM UTC

In the first two months of 2023, 121,205 people have been laid off — meaning that for many, either you or someone that you know has been directly affected by this economic downturn. This uncertain economy is stressful — so what can you do if you have job anxiety?

For answers, we turned to Sarah Tilley, Senior Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at ServiceNow. Tilley tells us that the first step to managing your anxiety during periods like this is to acknowledge your stress. Then, “I believe it’s about giving yourself full permission to do what helps you focus on your wellbeing, whatever that looks like for you,” says Tilley. “I had a leader many years ago who frequently said, ‘it's an inside job,’ when talking about how we manage tough moments. While we can’t control the uncertainty, we can do much to manage our internal response to it.”

Personally, Tilley finds it helpful to visualize a better future when dealing with stressful periods. She also notes that talking to people you trust is key to dealing with work anxiety. “I always immediately feel a difference once I’ve said out loud how I feel when working through something,” she says.

It’s also important to remember that these uncertain times will not last forever. As ServiceNow’s CEO Bill McDermott says, “tough times don’t last, tough people do.” Tilley agrees and shares that, “for me, inner strength comes from making the decision to push thoughts of despair out and replace them with thoughts of hope.” 

Here, Tilley shares more of her best strategies for dealing with uncertain times…

To start, do you have any tips on how to talk to your manager when you’re feeling stressed or worried about recent company changes and/or the current economic environment?

I know this can feel like it requires some courage, but, hopefully, you have a caring manager who will be there to support you. Your manager may be feeling some of the same things, and acknowledging that can create a space for a real conversation about what you both are feeling

Telling your manager how you are feeling gives them insight into the fact that you need their support, and a good leader will respond by doing what they can to support you. Your manager also doesn’t have to be your only option. If you have other leaders that you trust elsewhere in the organization (i.e., formal and informal mentors), that can be another good option to consider. 

What advice do you have for those who are worried that their company may be going through significant organizational changes or layoffs?

Staying aware and on top of what’s happening within your organization to the best of your ability will help you stay diligent about any potential changes; however, this can be hard to predict. Staying optimistic is still the best strategy. For example, there are times when you can actually benefit from some of the organizational changes, as it might open up different opportunities for you. This is a great time to learn a new skill or capacity to not only show your value in your current role, but also help position you for future ones as well. 

Through it all, we must remind ourselves that our value is much bigger than our current job. No matter what happens, you will bounce back. This is a moment, and, as we know, moments pass. 

How can people keep morale after their company has gone through organizational changes and/or layoffs?

Remind yourself what you value about your company. I feel fortunate to have worked for organizations over the course of my career and currently work for an organization that I truly believe in. I think you do all you can to focus on future possibilities because you hopefully believe in your company's vision and leadership.  

Finally, what advice do you have for those job hunting during this time to make their application and resume stand out?

Be clear about your capabilities and strengths, and tell that story through your resume. What are you proudest of in each role? Bring that to life by outlining the results you delivered.  And be relentless about working your network and hunting down every lead. In all of my years in Talent Acquisition, those that hustle land their next great job quickly.  

If you’re looking to make your next career step at a company that cares —prioritizing career growth, wellbeing, and belonging — then ServiceNow is for you.

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