On January 18th, 2023, Amazon announced that it would be laying off another 18,000 people. That’s 18,000 people with jobs one day and no job the next. Amazon’s CEO Andy Jassy sent a memo explaining the intent to axe as many as 18,000 more positions in the company.

This comes on the heels of the November wave of layoffs in which the company stated the intent to lay off around 10,000 Amazon workers.

News like this is always sad to hear, and the thought of so many men and women losing their jobs isn’t a fun one.

Even great jobs can be lost to layoffs.

As I’ve written on Side Hustle Road and elsewhere, layoffs can happen to anyone. None of us likes to think about that reality. I don’t, and I doubt you do either.

Even if you love what you do and even if you adore your employer, no one can predict the future, and it’s possible that one day that job might be subject to a layoff or downsizing. I’ve seen it happen to my coworkers and friends at various companies, and we hear about this kind of thing happening all the time in the news.

Sometimes it’s a function of a poor economy. Sometimes there are other factors in play.

But whatever the cause, the reality is that layoffs can and do happen – even at Amazon.

As much as we like to think of our jobs as security and think that as long as we have a job we’re guaranteed income, that’s simply not the case. As I wrote in Lessons From the Medium Layoff, this sort of news ought to get us thinking and preparing for our own futures by making sure we have multiple streams of income.

Amazon isn’t alone in laying people off.

According to CNBC Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies “have laid off more than 60,000 employees in the last year.” Microsoft announced on January 18th that it would be laying off 10,000 employees in the face of slower growth.

Alphabet (Verily) laid off 230 people.

Salesforce laid off 7,000.

Twitter downsized by 3,700.

Meta cut 11,000.

Even Medium laid off 29 employees.

These aren’t small mom-and-pop stores. These are massive corporations that deal with dollars in the billions, and yet they lay people off. Lots of people.

This isn’t the first time mass layoffs have happened, and I have no doubt that it won’t be the last.

Even if you love your job, you should have other streams of income.

Look, this is a truth that I will continue to shout from the rooftops: having multiple streams of income shouldn’t be seen as an option today. With the power and reach of the Internet especially, it has never before been so easy to research, launch and grow a side hustle into a thriving business.

But even if that’s not your cup of tea, there are things that you can do to generate additional income – whether you turn those streams of income into full business-scale pursuits or not.

I’m not saying that everyone with a job has to start a full fledged side business – even though I do recommend starting a side hustle to anyone and everyone with the means to start one. But what I am saying is that even if you have a great job and no intent to leave it, you need to be thinking about what other streams of income you can create – even if those streams are small.

Here’s the reality: if you were to ever lose your job (which I sincerely hope never happens to any of us) if you have additional streams of income to fall back on, that loss of a job will sting just a little bit less than in might have otherwise.

For example, through my writing on Medium, I’m earning a few hundred bucks each month as of the time this was written. If I were to lose my job tomorrow, I will be extra glad for the money I’m bringing in through Medium. Would it suck to lose my job? Sure. Of course it would. But if I know I’m not entirely dependent on it for my income, losing it wouldn’t seem quite so catastrophic.

Focus on creating value to create income.

What I want to do with articles like this and my entrepreneur-focused content as a whole, is encourage people to really investigate and start generating income by providing value. And that value can take lots of forms. What you do to create value will depend largely on your niche and what you like to do.

That value can be found in something digital – like an info product – or it could be something physical, like a tangible product or service. Lawn mowing, for example, provides value just as much as an ebook can.

The value that you create could even be inspired by your day job. For example, if you work in IT, you could use those skills to repair computers and networks on the side. Those repairs are valuable to the people and companies that need them.

Value is what drives engagement, and value is what attracts customers and income. That’s true whether you’re blogging, creating videos, writing on Medium or running a business online or offline. People will part with their money for value. They’ll visit your site for value. And they’ll subscribe to your email newsletter for value.

If you can create value, you can create income.

There’s nothing wrong with a job. Just have a backup plan.

Lest I be misunderstood, I do want to make sure I say this clearly: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a job. There are lots of very important, awesome jobs and careers out there. I’m blessed to have one that I enjoy (most days), and I hope you do too.

But that doesn’t negate the importance of having a backup plan.

I would say the same thing about having no job and trying to live off only your business. Even if you completely control a stream of income – even if your business is solid and times seem great – I believe it’s wise to have a backup plan of some sort. That way if, for whatever reason, that stream of income were to dry up, you’d have something else to fall back on.

I hope that these men and women who have been laid off from Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and elsewhere will be able to get back on their feet quickly. And I hope that these layoffs help many people recognize just how important it is to have a backup plan because at the end of the day, that’s something that no one else can do for you.