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Facing potential layoffs and the work environment


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Old 4th February 2010, 10:58 AM   #1
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Facing potential layoffs and the work environment

So my workplace is going to undergo about a 15% layoff in the staff barring folks that accept a voluntary retirement incentive. I am probably in a better position then most of my colleagues but there is a cut throat environment at work now as everybody is trying to prove why they are better then the next person. The layoffs will happen in about eight weeks.

For those of you that have gone through a similar situation, how did you cope with what was going on, and what happened? What did the people that didn't lose their job do differently from those that did?
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Old 4th February 2010, 12:23 PM   #2
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For those of you that have gone through a similar situation, how did you cope with what was going on, and what happened? What did the people that didn't lose their job do differently from those that did?
That happened twice at the company I was at last year (with 1000's of people being let go) and the staff morale and backstabbing (which was already intolerable) just excellerated, and made the workplace a terrible and unhealthy place for anyone to be.

I personally chose not to partake in any of that, and started looking at other opportunities at other companies. Two months later, I gave my notice, and moved on to a better place with a better job. This created enhanced hostility in my group, as a) no one could believe I was actually going to leave a job where I had been for many years, and b) resentment that I had silently put in the effort , and found something better for myself, without telling anyone around me.

I still receive mails (6 months later) from people who want me to just hand them a new job where I work now (I am the gate keeper and hiring manager for my division) - and half these people were trying to stab me in the back, as well as, undermine my credibility and contributions, while I was at the old place.

I am continuously awed at the gall of people who think that I would help them land better positions at (mine) or other places, after some of the things specific individuals did to me when I was working there........

Fortunately, I am personally contacted by my HR people for anyone applying from my former company, as they are terrified of hiring any bad seeds. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as I hate to see people still getting laid off and not having work - but also it makes me feel a bit sickened at what some people will try to "spin" as an alternate truth for why they did the things they did, and that we're all buddies now, and I should give them a job.

Some people in this world are so morally corrupted.
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Old 5th February 2010, 1:55 PM   #3
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These turbulent economic times are far more impacting than they might of been 10/20 years ago.

You have massive layoffs , commercial closures ( I am sure you all have seen the many shopping center anchors closing and all the shops follow with them ), bank failures , bankruptcies of businesses , ect..

When society sees everything crumbling around them and many people losing their jobs ( 7 million unemployed now ) , people will get desperate. They have mouths to feed, mortgages to pay , and how do you think the general public reacts when they see a landslide coming toward them ?

So now things get a little desperate. Think Haiti as an example. No law , no food , no water , no shelter. Notice how desperate things became for them. I predict if things don't start changing in our economy , you are going to see crime rise rampant and you won't be worried how to save your job but instead how to save your life from thieves taking what you have managed to aquire in life.

So that was the tone I was setting for answering the question : What do desperate people do ? Answer : Anything that will keep them alive.

How did we handle our layoffs. We knew it was coming by one day ! The coworkers that remained behind felt sympathy for us and compassion but I am sure they felt relief that it wasnt them.
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Old 5th February 2010, 2:22 PM   #4
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Lots of answers to the question , but they all start with questions depending on the field you are in and the terms of your employment.

If you are in position to take a voluntary early retirement there are benefits to this and if thats what they are looking at, it may not end up as voluntary as is right now. Later, the same package may not be on the table.

If you are a contract or union employee (depending on the sector) - everything is going to be pretty much on the table. Paycuts will be incorporated into new contracts, jobs will be eliminated, benefits changed. Nothing personal , all negotiated and other than private contracts job performance is often not a factor.

If your company is being downsized due to consolidation - job performance is key. Dead weight and big salaried positions gone.

Is your company laying off workforce because its slow and they just do not need as many bodies and do not forecast a need in the near future?
If so, job performance is key - who brings in the most money, who has the most clients, who will be able to pick up the work from those we lay off.

Next is tough, but could be important.

Its coming down to money. Accountants. No faces.
The people making decisions (other than those negotiating contracts) are going to assume right off the bat that no one will take a paycut, or that each person would dispute one, or that they will dispute their pay compared to others. So, its not brought up , its not a consideration on the table. And few faces in fear are going to feel that professionally, this is an offer they want to make. But making the offer after the decisions are made is too late. So, if you feel you can put this on the table, if you have reason to sweat, this may be something to consider. As always, if you do nothing, make no decision...one will be made anyway.
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Old 5th February 2010, 2:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I work for a government agency. So we are seeing the result of mismanagement of funds and state budget cuts combine to create a perfect storm. From what I have heard the name of the game is job performance. There is no union..so they are going to keep the people that are most efficient and able to do the most work. Luckily I fall in that camp for a few different reasons...but I am not going to rest on my laurels.

I guess the hard thing to know is...is it better to just keep doing what you do, delivering a high quality service to the clients, or should you try to sell yourself to administration?

One thing I do know, as some of you have said, I am not partaking in the backstabbing. I figure how things go this next two months will make a difference in the overall scheme of things. I mean more than 80% of the staff will be staying, and things that happened and where said will be remembered. I have also freshened my resume and am looking at other opportunities, I don't want to be caught with my pants down, no matter how many people tell me I'm safe.
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Old 5th February 2010, 3:58 PM   #6
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It sounds like you are in good shape!
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Old 5th February 2010, 4:05 PM   #7
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Devil Inside, I agree that it's best not to partake in the backstabbing. But it never hurts to have someone(s) in management rooting for you. If your superiors aren't the enemy, like many employees feel that management is, since slagging management is a national pastime, network as best as you can with both your superiors and within other departments.

The more you get your name out as a good worker and a balanced, no drama individual, the most likely you will be retained.
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Old 5th February 2010, 4:47 PM   #8
 
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I guess I am lucky to have left before the perfect storm. I've heard of MANY managers and staff being let go about 2-6 months after I left the firm. Even now I hear stories of a facade that the firm is hiring some but not really and the next FTE is actually going down.

I've always been a networker, shaking hands, meeting people, go to meet and greets, and just being out there. It has helped me get jobs but career wise, right now I'm stalled.

Even thought the firm I'm at now has went through a few rounds, I'm still not safe even since I'm not "friends" with the managers but friends with their friend's managers; so it is a little hard to "get rid of me."
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Old 6th February 2010, 3:03 PM   #9
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That happened twice at the company I was at last year (with 1000's of people being let go) and the staff morale and backstabbing (which was already intolerable) just excellerated, and made the workplace a terrible and unhealthy place for anyone to be.

I personally chose not to partake in any of that, and started looking at other opportunities at other companies. Two months later, I gave my notice, and moved on to a better place with a better job. This created enhanced hostility in my group, as a) no one could believe I was actually going to leave a job where I had been for many years, and b) resentment that I had silently put in the effort , and found something better for myself, without telling anyone around me.

I still receive mails (6 months later) from people who want me to just hand them a new job where I work now (I am the gate keeper and hiring manager for my division) - and half these people were trying to stab me in the back, as well as, undermine my credibility and contributions, while I was at the old place.

I am continuously awed at the gall of people who think that I would help them land better positions at (mine) or other places, after some of the things specific individuals did to me when I was working there........

Fortunately, I am personally contacted by my HR people for anyone applying from my former company, as they are terrified of hiring any bad seeds. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as I hate to see people still getting laid off and not having work - but also it makes me feel a bit sickened at what some people will try to "spin" as an alternate truth for why they did the things they did, and that we're all buddies now, and I should give them a job.

Some people in this world are so morally corrupted.
There's a lot of good information in this post. I tend to agree with your approach and I would opt to do the same. Why waste time trying to lower your own standards when, chances are, that won't help anyway. When someone announces that 'layoffs are coming and that everyone needs to show how badly they want to be here,' that's when it's time to leave - to leave on your own terms, not someone else's.
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Old 6th February 2010, 3:37 PM   #10
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I think it would be best to let your performance speak for you. The people above you, I would hope, will appreciate walking more than talking. At the same time, I would start looking for a job in the private sector. You don't have to tell anyone you're doing it, just do it. Many private sector companies can appreciate government experience. For your family's sake it's a way to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I hope that makes sense.

I have never been laid off so I don't have any experience to share with you on that side of things, but I do work at an extremely high stress job, and I see a lot of people come and go, for whatever reason. Performance in the field is almost always the key contributing factor to whether they are kept on or let go.

Speak softly and carry a big stick. Hope this helps.
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Old 6th February 2010, 6:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Devil Inside View Post
So my workplace is going to undergo about a 15% layoff in the staff barring folks that accept a voluntary retirement incentive. I am probably in a better position then most of my colleagues but there is a cut throat environment at work now as everybody is trying to prove why they are better then the next person. The layoffs will happen in about eight weeks.

For those of you that have gone through a similar situation, how did you cope with what was going on, and what happened? What did the people that didn't lose their job do differently from those that did?

Hey DI,

I am a professional as far as layoffs, 14 in a 25yr period and was with a union. Ok, there was the "barganing unit" (union workers) and "salaried"...the salaried people were "management" and had little protection, they could be let go at will. Union members had a seniority list that had to be followed.

The salaried people kept things under wraps and did not show much on the outside, or to us....but I can imagaine closed door meetings. It was all political in that arena.

Now us...DI it made no sense...some of the union people kissed a** and became outwardly cutthroat, back stabbing jerks...some of them were rude while HR was laying us off...it was bad....sabotage everything...one guy taped razor blades to the work stand rails....I worked with a rough crowd let's say.

Now for me and how I handled it...most of the time I was cool with it because my kids were younger and we worked so much overtime and the stress was really bad, although during the times I was single, I was scarred....I mean where was I gonna get a job like this with benies...you know...

Interesting that you are in the field that your in....I should be coming to you for councelling..lol...it affected me I think in many ways....rejection, fear, ect. It could be part of the reason stability is difficult for me to attain and understand.

I remember one layoff....4yrs and 7mo....almost lost recall rights. I felt I needed to go back and find a suitable mate there...and it was my mission due to fear of loss of income...sounds weird huh. It was scary for me.

BTW...how do you feel about what could happen to you DI, if you are laid off, how will you handle it?
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Old 6th February 2010, 7:00 PM   #12
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I think it would be best to let your performance speak for you. The people above you, I would hope, will appreciate walking more than talking. At the same time, I would start looking for a job in the private sector. You don't have to tell anyone you're doing it, just do it. Many private sector companies can appreciate government experience. For your family's sake it's a way to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I hope that makes sense.

I have never been laid off so I don't have any experience to share with you on that side of things, but I do work at an extremely high stress job, and I see a lot of people come and go, for whatever reason. Performance in the field is almost always the key contributing factor to whether they are kept on or let go.

Speak softly and carry a big stick. Hope this helps.
This is sound advice my friend, and I agree 110%

My performance record is excellent. I have been a machine for the agency. I am also bilingual...so I am a bit of a commodity where I live. I mean the way I see, upper management will learn a lot about everybody by how they react the next two months. Those that keep their stuff together and continue to perform at a high level will be in good shape.

All that said, I do have my eye on some opportunities. I have contacted some old friends and put out some discreet feelers. I am also looking at expanding my very limited private practice...just isn't the best time to start a business.
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Old 6th February 2010, 7:02 PM   #13
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BTW...how do you feel about what could happen to you DI, if you are laid off, how will you handle it?
I will feel anxious, rejected, and upset.

Hopefully the steps I take in the next two months to save money and secure other employment will lead to me having a place to land. I calculated my unemployment benefits and it is not pretty.
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Old 6th February 2010, 10:32 PM   #14
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I will feel anxious, rejected, and upset.

Hopefully the steps I take in the next two months to save money and secure other employment will lead to me having a place to land. I calculated my unemployment benefits and it is not pretty.
Hey DI...my prayers are with you bigtime k...I understand TOTALLY. I didn't realise the effects, or that there were any at all in the beginning as I started with this Co in '83 and was 23 yrs old...

DI, it was a miracle, my dad got me in...check this out, I was living on 410.00 a month and went to 3000.00 in '83...I was working 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week, it was fun...the work was rocket scientist type...lol.

When I started to understand the ramifications of the experience of this type of loss (emotionally), it really messes with your self esteem. My problem also (without my knowledge, I was in denial) was the fact that I would detach and not deal with it, so thank God in the 11th hour I'd usually get called back.

My type of employment was not exactly the most sought after profession ...lol...I think there might be about 3 or 4 hundered of us left in the entire US....so be grateful you picked a profession that is sought after.

I will speak protection over your job....
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Old 6th February 2010, 10:39 PM   #15
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That happened twice at the company I was at last year (with 1000's of people being let go) and the staff morale and backstabbing (which was already intolerable) just excellerated, and made the workplace a terrible and unhealthy place for anyone to be.
Yes, this is what happened with my co....now they weren't this way before another co took over, but omg....the stress was soooo bad and I have story after story of abuse and bullying (which was discussed in another thread). It is pathetic and I have much anxiety due to this toxic work environment...it's still bad and that is one of the reasons I retired early...abuse in any form for whatevcer reason is uncool.

Good luck to you BF
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