I was reading an article by Cherie Berklee at Payscale on the topic of surviving layoffs (having not survived one not too long ago) and was inspired by some of the points. I recommend the article to those who have been laid off, and those who hope never to be.
  • Stay Positive is an inspiring bit of advice which no doubt has origins in antiquity, but which was all the more powerful in Berklee's article. I have not always followed this advice, and even had disregarded it for some time in my career and was the worse for it. Staying positive (not fecklessly hopeful or naive) when things are difficult is not just good behavior. It is leadership.
  • Stay Engaged. Though I don't have a reference, I seem to remember Robert Martin talking about professionals, and Craftsmen in particular, being more highly engaged (attentive, focused) than your average code monkey. It is sometimes a struggle to stay engaged, which is why we have things like the Pomodoro technique and pair programming to keep us focused.
  • Stay Professional should be the motto of the Craftsman movement (if I may call it a movement). Always do your best work, and always look for ways to raise the bar on "best".
We should be mindful of these points well before our companies start to have financial trouble. These are things that make us better employees and better people in general. I've since hand-written these three points on a sticky-backed index card stuck to the lower edge of my second monitor. It is there to always remind me of simple ways to be more effective and thereby more valuable.


  1. Nice, Tim. It surprises me every time how often the simplest advice is the best. -- GeePawHill

  2. I might add... be as self-sufficient as possible by having months or a year of savings and/or minimal or no debt. That way you are not living paycheck to paycheck, and you are not fearful of doing the right thing at work.

    A layoff just might be your opportunity to move to something better -- easier to do if you are self-sufficient.


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