It’s no surprise that worries about being unemployed are elevated. Just last month Bank of America announced plans to layoff 30,000 and the United States Post Office asked Congress to cut 120,000 jobs. With the most recent hires likely to be the ones that lose their jobs first (a strategy known as last in the door, first out the door) many fear that their already depleted unemployment benefits will be gone when they need to apply yet again.
Lack of Loyalty
With unemployment trending at 9 percent, give or take a few points, it’s likely we will see additional layoffs. This is the reality rather than a prediction and in August, I had an influx of calls from professionals that were surprised to hear their positions at companies they had been loyal to for 10, 15 and in some cases, 20 years say goodbye to them with less than a day’s notice. Loyalty in today’s economy is to shareholders, the bottom-line and keeping the doors open. If you want to keep your family fed and a roof over your head, you need to give up the idea of loyalty to a single company just as they gave up the idea of loyalty to employees. (I say this as someone whose mother has worked for the same company for 28 yrs.)
A New Approach
It’s time for a new approach: being loyal to you and your family. Put your needs first while avoiding being selfish. Do what takes care of your needs and that can mean taking care of your company and it’s clients as well. Stay true to who you are and your work ethic while branding your skills, accomplishments and expertise in a way that presents itself best to a company with a healthy financial situation. When is the last time you thought about the best way to take care of your needs rather than your client, or company’s, needs? This is the new way to approach your career.
Worry Later, Work Now
When I was young I was a stress puppy; one of those people who thrived on worry and stress. Then, at 23, while an executive at a Fortune 500 company, I got shingles. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a very painful nerve-based disease that’s caused by stress and is usually found in the geriatric population – yes, geriatric. I had stressed my system out so much that I had a geriatric disease, at 23. During my 3 week stress-induced vacation I read a statistic that said 92% of what you worry about never happens. For all I know, I read it in a newsletter written by a faux professor – but I believed it and it’s been my motto from that day on.
If you want to worry about layoffs and unemployment, do so. I recommend you focus on working – either in your current position or on a targeted job search strategy that will get you into a job and career to utilize the skills you’ve spent years acquiring and perfecting.