Unpredictable Times

Everyone is Vulnerable, and Everyone is Expendable

Monday, June 9th, 2008

So, every day there is new economic news. Jobs are expected to stay steady — but alas — unemployment shot up to 5.5 percent and the market dropped 395 points! Pundits are talking about $150 a barrel for oil and the euro is at an all time high while the dollar continues to falter. Some people say we are coming out of the worst times and others say we are headed into the teeth of a recession.

In any event, companies, big and small, are freezing jobs open jobs, laying off and wondering what to do next.

If you are a management person and you think you are safe — think again!

In unpredictable times like these, everyone is vulnerable, and everyone is expendable. Not quite Lord of the Flies or Lifeboat, but a more subtle and sophisticated version of both.

This is not a time to play ostrich and stick your head in a hole and hope the rest of the senior management team won’t notice your posterior. The smartest thing you can do is be first and be aggressive about how to cut costs, how to be more efficient and how to make it happen quickly.

Most importantly, volunteer to be the person who is ready to implement cost cuts not only in your own area, but anywhere it can be helpful. Be creative and try not to layoff people if you can avoid it, but if you must — you must. Be careful to attack unnecessary spending and particularly spending that seems frivolous such as meetings in exotic locations versus a nearby company facility.

Go to your superiors with budget reductions that are real and can be done fast.

Remember the following:

  1. Your bosses hate having to make budget reduction decisions and prefer people volunteer them.
  2. Bosses will take credit with their superiors for your ideas thereby making you more valuable to them and less likely to fire you.
  3. If you don’t ‘belly up to the bar’ ahead of your peers, firing one of you probably saves the pain of firing 10 people who each make ten percent of your salary.

Make yourself essential in a difficult time and your boss will think you helped him from being fired too!


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