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Michael Gardon

  • Writer's pictureMichael Gardon

I Got Fired In The Middle Of A Meeting, And It Can Happen To You Too - The Break Issue 66

Updated: Mar 13

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#66 5 Signs You're About To Get Laid Off

I got fired in the middle of a meeting. Well, I was told the next day, but it happened in that meeting.

I knew it.

What a terrible feeling. I was up all night, walking the streets of Seattle in the dark by myself.

My mind racing between panic and planner modes.

I need a job

Can I even get a job?

Why did this happen?

Who do I reach out to?

How much runway do I have?

What do I tell my wife and kids?

Fortunately, my terror was short lived and I pivoted into a FT, highly paid consulting role within 30 days.

Because I was ready and flexible.

Here’s how to pick up on the signs you’re about to be laid off and how to pivot with precision.

#1. Rumors and communication changes

Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

If you start to hear rumblings, or there’s

  • increasing closed door meeting

  • your boss’s hours change (either earlier or later)

  • general lack of transparency (above normal)

#2. You hear "cost cuts"

Unfortunately, in cost cutting, everyone becomes a number on a spreadsheet. Companies cut other expenses before workforce (usually) so if they’re cutting expenses, jobs are next.

#3. Reduced responsibilities

“re-orgs” are happening and your company is looking to re arrange the chess pieces.

  • You or others in your role/department are suddenly iced out

  • Work is being done without your input

  • Boss is making decisions that you would normally make

#4. Poor performance reviews

you usually have some time, but you’re first to go in a layoff event

  • Unexpected negative feedback

  • Performance Improvement Plan

  • New boss is now more critical of you

#5. Exclusion from meetings or projects

I got fired in the middle of a strategy meeting. I saw it all coming together in the course of an hour.

  • left out of the loop

  • off email chains

  • out of meetings

  • passed over for project

  • fired

So what to do?

No, I’m not about to tell you to get a Plan B . . .

Or start scrolling job boards . . .

Or polish your resume . . .

Instead . . .

Sit with the feeling.

Process it.

Accept it.

Then create your FLEX plan —>

F oundation

L everage

E xperimentation

X eXecution

You see, a plan B is just one other option.

But a FLEX plan can help you navigate any career uncertainty.

Here’s how it works:


Only from a solid foundation can you move in any direction.

This is why martial arts teachers, quarterback coaches and tennis instructors all focus on footwork and balance.

Get back to the essence of who you are and what makes you great.

What are your core strengths and how can you use those in other ways?

What is your unique intersection of Advantage?

If you need a step by step guide on how to build your rock solid foundation, ​My Advantage Mapping Program​ can help you figure it out. (P.S. this course is free when you become an ​UnBREAKable​ yearly member.)


What existing skills, relationships, experiences, support and resources can you use to make a pivot into something else?

How can you leverage your foundation, and add in some learning to begin to see more diverse career paths?

We use ideation frameworks and networking to create leverage in our community.


Go from perfectionist --> experimentalist.

Release the need to know the next step, and instead playfully follow your curiosity.

How might you try out new roles, industries, or projects now to create options if and when layoffs occur?

How might you consider alternate ways of making money including side hustles or freelancing to get by?


Given your Foundation, Leverage points and Experimental mindset, can you put a rough plan on paper?

What is the sequence of steps you might take to FLEX around the layoff problem?

None of this has to be super detailed, but just knowing you have the capacity to FLEX will help you:

  • Maintain peace and harmony at home

  • Reduce strain on your finances

  • Move more quickly

  • Banish anxiety

and be UnBreakable in the face of downsizing.

If you’re worried about a layoff throwing you off, then join us in the UnBREAKable community where we are all crushing uncertainty by becoming flexible, adaptable and resilient. So no matter what comes, we can keep following our dreams.

P.S. I just did a masterclass on using the Barbell Strategy on your career and personal growth journeys in the Unbreakable community.

Follow me on ​LinkedIn​ and DM me “Unbreakable” and I’ll send you the video for free!!

Also, I’d love to see you as a member in our community.

If you're nodding along, and this all makes sense, I'd love to see you as a member of ​The Break Community​. It will be one of the best decisions you will make, and don't forget to use the code THEBREAK100OFF.

Wishing you boldness and clarity on your journey,



Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

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Resources To Make Your BREAK

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The Latest Conversation on THE BREAK Pod

Henna Pryor, PCC is a highly sought-after Workplace Performance Expert and an award-winning 2x TEDx and global keynote speaker, virtual presenter, author, and professional executive coach. She’s known for her science-backed approach to improving the performance, habits, and actions of hungry high achievers – in her fun, no-nonsense, no-jargon way – to move them from their first level of success to their next one.

She has been invited to speak twice for TEDx in New York City and Wilmington, DE and brings her expertise to a variety of global organizations including Google, Workday, FIS Global, and Johnson & Johnson. She has also been featured in top TV, podcast, and print media including Forbes, NBC, Washington Post, Fast Company, and more.

Henna founded Pryority Group – a fast-growing performance growth firm – to expand on her belief that the key to most people’s success is leaning into awkwardness a little bit longer to skyrocket strategic risk-taking and be braver in the work that we do.

Her best-selling book, ​Good Awkward​, published in September has been endorsed by NFL Quarterback Russell Wilson, former HBR Editor Karen Dillon, and received the rare Kirkus Star for excellence in writing.

You made it to the end! Hopefully you learned something about breaking your career today! If so, please share this with someone you care about.

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