I looked around my assigned room and couldnt help but assess my co-workers to determine if I was in a group that was doomed. Turns out I dodged a bullet and got to stay on an overworked team that was full of survivors guilt.
Lucky me. Well, at least I had a paycheck.
However, as soon as the economy turned around, the majority of those who stayed bolted for the door because the way the situation was handled had killed any sense of loyalty.
In the early 2000s, I had the displeasure of being let go from one job and then experiencing layoffs from a managers perspective at my new job. The tech bubble had burst and IT budgets were slashed after massive spending on Y2K preparation and new Internet technologies. The demand for our consultants was plummeting and something had to be done.
I was fairly new to the company and hadnt hired any of the people we now had to let go. I wish I could have been there to plan better, but maybe I would have ended up in the same predicament running out of projects with a growing bench.
Its hard to predict resource demand, but hiring full time consultants for short term projects probably wasnt a brilliant idea.
My boss at the time offered to bring in security in case anyone cracked. I declined because I had seen that scenario play out in the past and it wasnt pretty. People not only felt crushed by the job loss, but then theyd feel like criminals being escorted out of the building.
Unless someone seemed like they would be unstable, it wasnt worth it.
It sounds like a crock, but laying off people was much more excruciating than being let go. Yes, I still had a job, but I knew how much this action was going to affect their lives.
The ones that were impacted the least had done a few things to protect themselves. Since then I always encourage my team member to keep current in their area of expertise, periodically update your resume and take time to network and stay in touch with colleagues from prior jobs.
Whether you are a top performer or not, its best to be prepared for the worst. After all, you never know when youll be called into a conference room where you too will face your fate.