Posted by Brian McCullough
Layoffs are coming fast and furious. The employees of Citigroup got absolutely clobbered today.
Who survives when jobs are on the chopping block? Let me use a car salesman(person) analogy here.
Let’s imagine you are the owner of a car dealership. A recession is in full swing. No one is buying cars. (And let’s leave aside the notion that your supplier of cars might be bankrupt by the new year.)
Ok, Mr. Owner, your workforce is largely salespersons, with the occasional accountant, secretary and a few management types.
Times are going to be tough for the foreseeable future. You’re gonna have to cut some people. But the question is, who is safe? Who are the people you are absolutely going to keep on the job?
They fall into 3 categories:
1) The Superstar Earner
In lean times, you’re not gonna kill the golden geese. In fact, you’re going to lean on them all the more to get you through the badness. You’re going to encourage them, pamper them, maybe even offer them raises because you know how valuable to you they are right now.
2) The Innovator
Maybe in this tough time what your business needs to do is think outside the box. If plugging away at what you’ve always done no longer gets results, then it’s time to try new things. As the owner, you’re going to keep around the folks with ideas. You’re going to maybe give a chance to those people that have crazy new ways of doing business, new contacts, new ways of branching out and making money.
3) The Cost Cutter
Maybe now is NOT the time you fire the secretary and answer the phones yourself. Right now, you’re trimming costs, right? That’s why you’re laying people off to begin with. But if you can identify employees who know how to trim the fat, it would pay you to keep them on. So if that secretary is good at trimming office supply costs, finding a new, cheaper phone system, or negotiating better advertising rates, you’d be a fool to fire her.
What is the overall lesson here?
If your job is on the line, you want to identify yourself as one of these three key types of people. It might not make your job 100% secure, but it does increase your chances of being safe if your boss can brand you as the type of worker that will help him survive the rough patch and keep his or her own job.
PS, further thought: If you’re trying to get hired during these tough times, it would also behoove you to try to convince the hiring manager that you have some of these three qualities. The only people likely to be hired right now are people that can help an organization rise out of the tough times quicker. They don’t care how you do it… make more money, find new ways of making money, or save money. But if bringing you on can accomplish some of those three things, you’d be surprised the job opportunities that open up.