Welcome, Associated Press Readers

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Jan 21

Last week, I was contacted by Dave Carpenter, a business reporter from the Associated Press, who found me through this site. His story “Recession ahead? Consumers pull back, businesses feel pain” was about the economy and how it’s getting tougher out there. Seeing that both Kate and I were laid off within a half hour of each other in disparate departments before Christmas, he thought we’d be good subjects to humanize a story filled with statistics.

Dave’s professional approach made it easy to talk through our situation — a situation that isn’t doom and gloom, but one of refocusing where we want to work professionally. Ted, the local AP photographer, came out to the house as well to take some 50 pictures of our environment, but we haven’t seen one to link to just yet.

We were bumped from the third paragraph of the story to the very end of a (long) story. And that’s OK; I understand editing — and the fact that doom, gloom, and disaster are what sells newspapers and creates ratings on news shows. And our situation isn’t about doom and gloom; rather it is about having been prepared, making use of our time off together, and refocusing our careers on what we want to be doing.

Here’s what didn’t make it into the story because the story was about the economy and not about being laid off:

  • We don’t blame our employer for the layoff. While most layoffs can be traced back to “management’s mismanagement,” you are where you are in the company.
  • We were well prepared for the layoff. Outside of socking away a year’s worth of take home pay mentioned in the articles, we’ve also updated our web sites to be career oriented (http://scotherrick.com and http://kateherrick.com), and have actively been building our network of great friends.
  • Even if one is expecting to be laid off, one still needs to go through many of the stages of the separation from the work and that takes time.
  • Being laid off together is surprisingly better than one being laid off and the other not laid off. We’re both going through the same emotional pieces and are both working on the same objectives.
  • We’re making sure to use this time off to our advantage. So far, we’ve been to the Oregon coast to spend some time on the beach, Victoria, Canada, for a little rest and recreation, a couple of day trips, and we’re planning a long vacation in February. We would just never get the time off in a corporate environment to do this in this short of time, so we’re trying to take advantage of that.

Here’s what didn’t make it into the story on the economy part:

  • Labeling the economy as being in a “recession” makes a difference — people start making different decisions and become more conservative about risk simply because something is labeled a “recession.” That will impact the time it takes to find a new position.
  • While many companies are hurt by the housing and credit crunch, many other companies and industries do not have credit issues nor need credit. Consequently, much of what is happening is local (and all economics is local depending on where you work, right?).
  • And while I don’t think we’re in a recession, you can’t say the economy is in a boom time. Too many layoffs, too much sluggish job growth, and too many stock market issues do not a boom make.

This site is about Career Management for Cubicle Warriors. In the article, Dave noted that I ironically maintain this site about career management. While ironic, I also follow my own advice. No one can be protected from a layoff no matter where you work in the world of cubicles; there are just different probabilities of being laid off depending upon your circumstances.

Following the advice on this site can give you a better career, a better understanding of your risks of layoff, and how to be best prepared in case you are laid off. I want you to thrive in a cubicle and my objective of this site is to champion the Cubicle Warrior.

  • Congratulations on the AP article. Excellent insights on career management and the economy. You did a great job in communicating that life is made up of 90% choices and 10% unknowns.

  • Scot Herrick says:

    Thanks, Dan. One hopes. I met with someone who needed some career management advice tonight and it was encouraging to hear how much of what is here applies to his situation.

    Thanks, Dan, you are a great thought leader in the personal branding space and I really appreciate your work in that area.

  • Congrats! It’s funny how one hardship leads to coverage like that. Truth be told, your blog is a vital asset to your career AND life.

    Get ready for issue 3 of Personal Branding Magazine…sample coming next week!

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