New job responsibilities from layoffs

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Jan 15

Layoffs hit the people who survive the layoff as well. Not only are there emotional feelings liked guilt-tripping for staying, but real work issues as well. And opportunities.

Newsday reports that “surviving layoffs may mean new job responsibilities” and the advice they provide is on the mark. Having fewer people at work means the people who stay have the opportunity to take on new responsibilities.

And, for the most part, that’s a good thing. The changes give you an opportunity to add to your job skills, take on work that shows your ability to handle it, and take your career in a new direction.

What’s missing from the article is this very real possibility: with extra work comes extra hours resulting in burnout.

Management is responsible for assigning tasks and work to their employees. What management often fails to do after a layoff is define what will no longer be done.

If your workforce is really being fully utilized, you can’t take away employees and still get the same amount of work done. You can’t layoff 10,000 people at a company (for example, Citibank) and expect that everything will still get done that was done before. It just doesn’t happen.

Taking on greater responsibilities is an opportunity to enhance your career even in tough times. But make sure you know what you will no longer be doing or you could end up burning out and performing poorly. Neither is worth the trip.

Have you taken on more responsibility after a layoff? How did it work out?

  • Sital says:

    Great point Scot

    I smiled whist reading your post as I’ve done exactly what you mention here.

    I took extra responsibility after a restructuring a few years ago – worked longer hours, got more stressed etc. Rather than seeing it as an opportunity, I did it more out of professional pride (not wanting to let clients down) and a loyalty to my firm who were struggling in a tough market.

    But I overworked, burned myself out and resented the management team as they never really appreciated or valued my additional efforts.

    But I suppose it’s all about ‘balance.’

    Finding the right balance between being a valuable contributor to your firm during tough times is looking after you a your own interests.

    • Scot says:

      I once did an enterprise project, one that completely changed out the entire servicing chain, and was pulled from my current job to do it. I was assigned to the work, I didn’t volunteer for the work.

      When the project came to an end ten months later, I was told I needed to find a job. So, long hours, tons of work, mission critical stuff, total success of the project — but I needed to find a job in the company or I was gone. Thank you very much.

      So call me crazy, but I’m in this for my own interests. Companies don’t care (only people do).

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