We already know that you can be So Good They Can’t Ignore You (book review hopefully coming soon!), but can you be So Good They Can’t Lay You Off either?

I would think if the former is possible, then the latter is as well. Well, at least in a way.

As someone who got caught up in the tech world’s recent round of job cuts, I found myself thinking if there was something different I could have done to avert that outcome in the first place. Questions like “Could I have closed out more tickets?”, “Could I have done them faster?” floated to mind, and yet I felt like that wouldn’t have spared me either.

The truth of the matter is, I was not irreplaceable at work. In the words of Cal Newport, I did not have rare and valuable skills – what he calls “career capital.” And I realize now that I was too comfortable in the (admittedly few) skills and tools I was good at, rarely stretching myself for “deliberate practice.”

However, I can vouch for those qualities not being enough to save one from the proverbial axe, on account of several aquintances that have also been laid off who possessed incredible skills. So what gives?

Sure, people with enough career capital stored up may get laid off just like the rest, but I figure it does not affect them as negatively as it does others. Their professional networks can be tapped for new opportunities, relevant skills turned into a new venture, or something else conjured up. In the end, it becomes a simple turning page in one’s career as oppossed to a significant hurdle to overcome. While they may not be able to avoid getting laid off – as these things tend to be haphazard – they don’t become laid off.

My hope is to adopt the craftman mindset as Newport describes it, and engage in deliberate practice where I can so that even if I get laid off again, I don’t end up laid off.