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Too Big To Care: The Indifference of Big Companies & How Workers Can Protect Themselves From Layoffs
Layoffs & Loyalty
Twitter, Meta, Amazon, Salesforce… titans of Tech, supposedly too big to fail.
But we’re seeing some wavering. And employees are certainly feeling the quake.
Inflation is taking its toll, the global supply chain is still screwy, and consumers are pinching their pennies. As a result, profits are down, even for the big guys, and the #1 strategy of public companies to keep dishing out shareholder dividends is to cut the workforce. And fast.
Tens of thousands of workers are being laid off, in some cases 10%-50% of the workforce.
If you’re not lucky enough to be above the fold, you may find yourself dumping your desk tchotchkes into a cardboard box with an unrequested escort to the front door.
It’s not enough to work hard and be loyal.
When the chips are down, your salary can always be rescinded.
Part of protecting yourself is knowing this to be true and taking precautions to be ready for when it occurs.
- Stay to the outside. If you’ve got some tenure under your belt, love what you do, and want to call your own shots, consider shifting to consulting. Self-employment is the only true job security because you, and you alone, are in charge of your paycheck. As long as you keep a balanced portfolio of clients (3 or more clients, 2 or more industries), you will always be safe from being out of work.
- Sleep with the enemy. Get to know folks in your role at competing companies. Don’t gossip or trade trade secrets, but have lunch every once in a while. Welcome someone from the other side into your life. You’ll be better able to see the industry trends coming around the corner, you’ll have a bigger picture when doing your own work, and you just may have some inroads into a new job, should your company decide to downsize…er, rightsize… no, I mean consolidate… Wait, restructure?
- Toot your horn. Everyone in a big company knows they have to find ways to add value to survive, but you also have to find ways to prove you’re finding ways to add value. This means, telling your boss your good ideas *and* making sure you get credit for them, volunteering to do “high-visibility” projects, making post-project slide decks that show business impact, and reminding people of your greatness during meetings and reviews. Don’t count on anyone else to advocate for you. It’s not that your colleagues don’t care; they’re just as busy as you are and they can only fit one horn in their mouth.
- Interview every once in a while. Especially when things are good, dip a toe in the job market. See what’s out there for you. See what salaries look like. Guage the eagerness of another company to snatch you up. This is a good way to make some alliances within other companies and turn enemies into friends, which is always a good business strategy (and life strategy). Interviewing is a skill. And you should always keep your skills polished.
- Keep your resume sharp. Military veterans and Information Security professionals are great at this. Perhaps it’s because they know bombs can drop at any moment. There is no better way to gain peace of mind in an unstable job situation than to have your resume updated and ‘at the ready.’ At the first explosion, you’re ready to fire back. If you really want an edge, hire a professional resume writer to do the job for you. It can be challenging to get your story down on paper, especially after an involuntary, abrupt ending.
Life is uncertain. Companies have plenty of failsafes in place to protect them from sudden catastrophes.