Persistent Layoffs Equals Time to Leave

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jun 23

There is the temporary, one-time financial loss to deal with and then there are persistent losses over time. The one-time loss is the blip on the radar screen and we move on. But persistent losses resulting in layoffs are different and can harm Cubicle Warriors.

Persistent layoffs usually happen because of transformational shifts in the industry — think of Kodak and the onslaught of digital cameras. Or they happen because of bubbles bursting from some excess — think of the current credit crisis as a result of the mortgages.

Humans are very adaptable. They will accept slow change day after day until a year later they are in a completely different situation then they were a year before. Persistent losses and the resulting persistent layoffs will do that to you.

Persistent losses and layoffs hurt the Cubicle Warrior:

  • Your attitude becomes complacent. Another day, another layoff. I survived.
  • Your energy leaves you. You watch the politics, check the layoff picture and are not as involved in the work.
  • You become complacent about building job skills.
  • You watch what is happening instead of being engaged in what is happening. A spectator in the layoff spectator sport.
  • You start to choose whether to look for a different job or wait to get laid off and take a package.

How many times have you heard people who stay waiting for the next layoff say the place is dead or dying? In the end, you allow events to control your career instead of you being on top of your career.

And, its EASY to get into the position. Just one day at a time. Another layoff and then another two months later. Your department starts to get very conservative and focuses on survival instead of growth. Easy.

There are reasons to stay and, if laid off, take a package. But most of the time, you are better off leaving before events control your life.

Here’s the case for leaving at the first sign of persistent losses and layoffs:

  • Most people will not understand that the world changed. Consequently, they will continue to stay while you have a free field to work with in the marketplace.
  • You still have engagement in your work. This is no small fact as it translates well into other interviews. Hiring managers can tell the difference between engagement and layoff survivor.
  • You have notable accomplishments. I’d rather talk about my growth accomplishments in an interview than about effective cost-cutting that didn’t matter in the end. I’d rather talk about how I helped promote my people in their career than how well I laid off half my staff.
  • You will not have the reputation of your work tied with the a company in trouble. Once the wrong perception about your company gets in the marketplace, it is yet another hurdle to overcome in the interview.
  • The best people leave a poorly performing company early. Usually you will see top management leaving as the first sign. The best people are cognizant of their career path and see the writing on the wall.

When there are persistent layoffs in a company, it means management hasn’t figured it out where the bad news ends. If management can’t figure out the bottom and get it right, how are you going to figure it out without putting your job at risk?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.