On August 11th, Tony Stubblebine – the new CEO of Medium – wrote a Medium story title News about Medium Staff. In that story, he gives some sad news. Twenty nine of Medium’s staff no longer have a future with the company.

Tony reports that this step is being taken for two reasons:

  1. Medium, in his estimation, is bigger than it needs to be for the “focused mission ahead.”
  2. This is a cost-savings measure.

Layoffs are never pleasant. And while I don’t ascribe to Tony any nefarious intentions, I believe this layoff can be instructive for you and for me. In light of this news I think there are a few things that are good for us all to keep in mind.

You should have a side hustle.

One of the purposes of this blog is to document my own journey toward building a side hustle. And there’s a reason for that. I believe most people should have one as well. I don’t care what your current occupation is or what your interests are. In my opinion, you ought to have a side hustle of some sort.

The fact is – even if you have a job you love – jobs are not guarantees. You may have the best employer in the world, and you may love what you do. But that job could easily be gone tomorrow.

A side hustle is a great way to bring in some extra cash and pay the bills – or even replace your main income in some cases. Ideally, a side hustle could become your full time gig by choice and not out of necessity due to something like a job loss, but having another source of income can certainly make losing a job sting less.

But further, remember that a job is not truly yours. It may bring you a paycheck. You may love what you do. But you don’t own it. You are employed only so long as your employer finds your work adequate and/or has the financial wherewithal to keep you onboard.

Your own business though? Your own side hustle? That’s something that you control.

Stay current on job skills.

Whether your intention is to stay in a 9-5 job forever or to eventually make your side hustle your full time income, it’s important to keep your skills current and make yourself as valuable as you can.

I work in IT, and let me tell you. That field is constantly changing. If I don’t stay up to date, I can quickly become irrelevant.

Now, you may say, “But I want to work for myself.” And that’s a great goal. Even if your intention is to replace your income from your job, staying current on skills will serve you well in the long run.

If, for example, you’re a blogger. You need to be certain to stay up to date on your niche and constantly learning. If you don’t, you’ll be certainly outpaced by those who do.

Whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself, it’s never a bad idea to continue learning. In fact, I would consider it an essential. Make use of the many many learning resources available. Learn a new skill. Keep up with new products and services and information in your niche.

But whatever you do, don’t stop learning. Even if you get to “expert” status, there’s more to learn.

Don’t burn bridges.

When you leave an employer – for whatever reason – try to leave on good terms. Whether you’re leaving voluntarily or being let go, try not to burn bridges with people.

You never know when you might need that bridge.

Years ago, I worked for a company that did some things I didn’t approve of, and I wanted to leave. I was angry at the decisions they had made. I reached out to my previous employer and asked if they had any openings and if we could discuss me returning to my previous role. We met for lunch, and I was given a great offer. But that wouldn’t have happened if I had burned that bridge.

You may be perfectly happy in your job today, but your job may not around forever, and it’s good to maintain connections should you ever need them. You never know when you might need a reference or when a former colleague or boss may be able to get you into a better paying role that will value you more.

Take time for yourself.

At the end of the day, here’s what I would challenge you to think about. Your job – no matter what it is – is just a job. It may pay the bills (hopefully). But do we live to work or do we work to live? How many of us spend our lives working so hard that living is shoved to the corner and we forget to take time to breathe?

I feel bad for the 29 Medium staff members who are now out of a job with that company. Again, I don’t ascribe to Tony any nefarious intent, but I do think this decision serves to illustrate my point: to most employers, employees are disposable and replaceable.

While I certainly would hope that’s not true of mine or of yours, the fact remains that it is true for many. And it’s important to be loyal to your own needs first. Take care of yourself and your family first. Yes, do a good job. No, don’t slack off. But don’t let your mental or physical health suffer because of your day job.

Your job should serve you – not the other way around.