Saturday, January 26, 2008

Layoff Bloodbath? Now what?

According to the latest news, it’s been a layoff bloodbath today. Heavyweight companies such as Sprint, Home Depot, GM and a few others had to cut a massive amount of jobs to the tune of 45,000! In addition, service innovator such as IBM will be cutting approximately 3,000 jobs and Philips Electronics another 6,000 jobs! Wow!  Where I live, unemployment rate is up 1% from last year’s 8.1% which means 1 in every 10 Americans is unemployed.  As we’ve all heard many times, this is not even the end as there’s worse times yet to come as more jobs are cut, more people lose their homes and more people get into deeper debts.

Hearing and seeing about this type of broadcast surely doesn’t fuel hope for Americans to find new jobs or keep their current jobs in order to stay in their homes and avoid getting deeper in the hole. So, what’s the reality of these layoff numbers? Is there anything good with this type of situation? What does it mean for the Americans? for the country?

These cuts are mainly coming from the big giants (industries and corporations). Reduction in force came from various sectors like construction, auto industry, technology firms, and others. Some of these companies have been hurting for a long time and some of them saw this predicament coming. As I mentioned before, in every bad situation, there’s always some kind of a good “take away”. To some companies, this is an opportunity to cut the fat, sever ailing divisions, restructure, do away with products and/or services that don’t work nor longer supports the current business model. What this means for the Americans is allowing ourselves the time and space to think things through on how we can navigate out of this downward spiral; how we can be more strategic in our decision-making for long-term growth and not just survival. For the unemployed, this might be the time to re-invest in sharpening our saws or look for opportunities as an entrepreneur; re-connect with others and identify a need that you can fill that’s of great value in this current economic climate. For the country, it means we are faced with a lot of challenges. We’re in a recession and though it’s easy to feel fear, now is not the time for fear. We need hope and serious action from our leaders.

If you’re currently employed and feeling uncertain about how the company you work for is doing, you need to do some research. If you work for a publicly-traded company, this information is available online. Review their financial statements, read any press releases, and also, see what analysts have to say to give you an idea of the health of your company. You do not need to wait for your boss to tell you as sometimes, management is not at liberty to say certain things at certain times. However, if you work for a private company, exercise the “open door policy” and talk to the boss. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions perhaps, this can even be an opportunity to discuss how you can help the company get through such challenging times. Be proactive. Good bosses will appreciate that. :)

If you’re currently unemployed, such as myself, doing your homework about target companies to work for would be extremely helpful. Not only you’ll learn how financially sound a company is, you’ll also learn about their business, and learn about what’s on the press release. Reading and learning will bring you wealth of information. Remember, knowledge is power. :)

Unemployed or not, I think it’s wise to pay attention to booming industries and growing companies. Also, it may be a good time to consider taking classes, training, or seminars especially if what you’re currently doing or technology you’re using is becoming obsolete or fossilized like the dinosaurs, the time is NOW to get crackin’. Some people have marketable skills but are faced with a challenge of still being unemployed or just can’t seem to land an opportunity that parallels those valuable skills. It may be best to weigh other options or rethink the companies you’re sending resumes to or even the town where you live and perhaps, relocation is the next best thing.

There are jobs to be filled regardless of the high unemployment rate. The key is figuring out where these jobs are and if you have the skills or have great value to offer a company that differentiates you from the rest. You need to have an edge especially considering it’s highly competitive out there. You may also want to go for the unadvertised jobs rather than the ones posted online or the newspapers. Have your own “brand”, your own USP as interviews are not only about interviewing a potential employer but also selling yourself and beat competition.

As for me, I know what I want and I won’t settle for anything less just to get a pay check. We all have different situations, have different goals or motivations. There are so many different elements as we all have our own various reasons. I will go for what would be in the best interest of my career goals and what’s commensurate with my qualifications. In addition, I also do not think it’s right for me to accept an offer just to accept a pay check. I do not believe that to be fair to me nor is it fair for a company. I take pride in my work and delivering on a job well done. I believe in earning every penny I get paid. I provide measurable value and deliver high impact results. In my opinion, someone that delivers high impact and exceptional value should be compensated accordingly and someone unqualified, unable to deliver or provides minimal impact and of no value is overpaid.

Again, this is just me… and what I believe in and what I stand for. I’m not filthy rich but I’m also not dirt poor. I’m fortunate to have the ability to weigh my options and the ability to wait for the right opportunity where I can provide value that matters to the company I work for. I firmly believe that it will come, in due time. :)

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