Laid Off: 5 Perspectives for those that stay

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jan 03

Yesterday, I noted five practices for those people that are not laid off and are staying in their positions. The purpose of the article was to help reduce the stress of the changes in the job as the result of fewer people in the positions to do the work.

But stress is really about both control and perspective. If you have both control and perspective, you will have reduced stress, even if the situation you are in is difficult.

Reviewing my five practices, I realized that they are five practices to help achieve some control over your situation. But not perspective.

Perspective is important: perspective gives you the bigger picture of your situation. Perspective allows you to see what impacts could occur to you that don’t match your career objectives or that you have no control over.

Control gives you the here and now, perspective gives you the environment around you affecting your work.

Here are five perspectives to help you define your work environment:

  1. Your team. Your team is who you need to work with every day. Who is left on your team from the layoff will define a lot of your satisfaction with coming to work. Your ability to work with your team has longer term impacts on your success in the position.
  2. Your manager. After the layoff, is your manager putting the pieces back together again for how the work is distributed? Is there a perspective on how things will work with fewer people? Does your manager appear plugged into what is happening with higher management? Your manager has a large impact on your career, so evaluating your manager’s effectiveness is critical to your success.
  3. Your departmental management. Your departmental management will chart your longer term (annual) direction. This larger picture is important for a couple of reasons. First, a direction to outsource your position has a direct impact on your job! So knowing the direction your department is heading is critical. Second, your departmental management needs to execute well both in delivery and budget. Delivering well in budget and projects by the department means less upper management involvement, a greater probability in getting more work because of great execution, and a greater trust factor because the rest of management knows that the group delivers. If your department is viewed as incompetent, no amount of personal brilliance will overcome the broad brush fixes that will hit your job.
  4. Your company management. In a very large company, this could be your division as compared to smaller company. The key here is the track record. Have they made the right decisions in the past and this layoff is an aberration to a great streak or is this the mode of operation when things get tough? Is upper management constantly churning — and churning the departments with each new change? Are they leading their competitors in new products and services or are they always catching up? Poor upper management has a longer term impact, opening up the company to be purchased or being put into the position of laying more people off in the future.
  5. Your industry. The technology bubble near 2001. The subprime mess today. When things go to hell in a hand basket throughout the industry — especially when combined with bad things happening in the last four areas — means things will get tough no matter what.

The objective of perspective is to gauge the risk of your position. No person is layoff-proof and no one is indispensable. But, there is relative risk to your position. By analyzing these five perspectives, you can gauge the risk to your position and take action.

  • […] Laid Off — 5 perspectives for those that stay […]

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  • Scot Herrick says:

    Thanks, Lora. As a matter of fact, there are a few of those things going on….

  • Scot,
    I’ve been following your posts for a couple of weeks now. I just need to let you know how valuable (your writing) is. Every post is spot on!

    I co-managed the reorganization of a large company several years ago, and about 700 people were eliminated. It was grueling to say the least.

    We didn’t have a good plan for helping the survivors carry on. I hope your posts turn into some sort of book or training to help those who are left get on with their lives…and work. There’s a market for it.

    Keep going! You’re doing great!


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