These are crazy times in the workplace, and I suspect it is going to get worse over the next few months. Financially-challenged companies are rushing to lower overhead with massive lay-offs, and even relatively healthy companies are taking the opportunity to closely analyze expenses and overhead. It is easy to get caught in the crossfire and find yourself cleaning out your desk. A few simple hints on how not to be a casualty and live a relatively sane life during the financial crisis:
- Don’t overreact, and get the facts. A good friend of mine runs a very successful company that is actually expanding during this crisis. He is taking advantage of the fact that some of his poorly run competitors are not doing well, and he is hiring key employees that have been layed off. Despite this fact a rumor started in his company that they were in trouble, and now he has to spend valuable time convincing people they are not getting fired. Don’t listen to rumors or naturally assume your job is on the line. It causes needless angst. Get the facts from people that really know.
- Don’t make yourself a target by being a Whiner. This is probably not the time to be asking for a raise, complaining about the company health insurance, being surly at work, gossiping and wasting time, or otherwise making yourself stand out as a Whiner. Understand that your managers are potentially going through some tough times. They are likely being asked to make cuts, and make other difficult decisions. You want to be seen as a team player, not a complainer.
- Be a team player. It is much harder to eliminate someone who is really working towards the best interests of the company. How about being proactive and going to your manager with suggestions on how the company can save money and be more efficient? Are you willing to jump in and do two jobs (that attitude might save yours)? Demonstrating a lot of flexibility makes you more valuable to the company.
Finally, if you are the victim of a layoff – handle it with grace and dignity even if you feel it was unjustified. Destroying your ability to get a reference is never a smart move, and if you were good at your job and the economy improves you might find yourself back in your old job sooner than you think.