1 June 2001
Looking for security in an insecure world
By Greg Hale
It often starts as a vague announcement. "There will be a companywide meeting tomorrow at 10 a.m." Then the rumors begin, becoming infused with fear as they go from cube to cube. "Have we been sold?" workers ask one another. "More layoffs? Who will it be?"
The scramble for inside information continues right up until the moment when the word hits the fan. Unfortunately, all too many employees in our industry lately have experienced this scenario, only to have the worst come true. "Due to the current business climate, our revenues are down and the forecast doesn't look much better . " the chief executive begins.
Even if you're one of the people who survives the cuts, you may find yourself asking a couple of basic questions: "Why did I survive? Am I next?" But in the final analysis, if you have to ask either of those questions, you should just start typing up your resume right now because chances are, you will be next.
Take a look at the climate out there. Siemens just dropped 2,000 jobs after cutting 3,500 before that. Unilever plans to wipe out 33,000 jobs over a five-year period. Even one of the best run companies in the world, Dell Computer, is cutting its workforce by 3,000. Layoffs are everywhere.
With sweeping cuts like these, it's hard to see what workers can do to insulate themselves from the worst. Whether you are an engineer, a technician, a manager, or even a shoe salesperson, the key is growing in your job and remaining relevant, agile, and smart. Those factors will keep you on a growth track and ensure more control over job security until the day you retire. Can you give the right answers to the questions below?
- Relevant: Are you staying on top of changes in your profession? Are you aware of business drivers forcing change within your industry? Have you taken any new training courses in the past six months that will help you grow in your career?
- Agile: Do new projects fire you up, and do you see them as a positive challenge and a potential opportunity? Can you turn on a dime and tackle a new project that came to you from out of the blue?
- Smart: Do you work efficiently and think of every possible angle and situation? Do you get the proper input from the right people when you determine the correct course of action, thus avoiding the "decision in a vacuum" effect? In what direction is your industry headed? Is your company following suit?
Job security is on everybody's mind. What you need to do is make sure you take measures to be better, smarter, and more valuable to your company so that when the rumors begin, you can fret a little less about where your next paycheck is coming from.
How can you ensure your future? Talk to me: firstname.lastname@example.org or 919 990-9275. IT