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Friday, January 9, 2009

Global Economic Recession, Lay-off’s and its Impact on You – Survival of the Fittest

Global Economic Recession, Lay-off’s and its Impact on You – Survival of the Fittest

Introduction

Most of the countries all over the world are going through this phase of economic recession. Many old and big companies have already been brought down on their knees to bite the dust. Many companies as well as countries have become bankrupt or are on the verge of it. Millions and millions of people have lost their jobs. Many people have lost millions and billions of dollars. People in general are scared and fearsome. This is not the first time that the global economy is going through recession and this is also not the last time. There is a pattern involved in it. On an average it is happening after every 8-10 years. This article is an attempt to highlight some of the issues involved and some of the possible solutions.

Dynamics Involved

In our life, there is a special place for money (be it in any currency). Most of the problems that we are facing in our life and day-to-day living are linked with it. Food, shelter, clothes, life-style, education, comforts and etc and etc, each and everything involves money. Money should be revolving; it comes, it goes and it comes back again. It should always change hands or else it is useless. It is this nature of the money that drives the economy of a country, a company or our life. And when you are going through recession, it means no money is coming in. Money is not coming in but yet you need to live and hence there is a need for cost-cutting. But you never know how long the recession will continue and hence more cost cutting. People drive the economy and when there is recession then it is these very people who suffer.

…and then you are laid off. Now what? What will you do? How will you survive? How will you take care of yourself and your family? Earlier there was less money coming in and now there is no money coming in, what will you do?

In such times of global recession when everyone is trying hard to survive and pass through one of the toughest phase of their life, no one thinks about making the profit out of adversity. Everyone is trying to survive and it will be survival of the fittest. Anyone who will be able to pass through this will come out as a stronger entity or person or country. Companies are no exception to this rule. They are also trying hard to survive. With them they are also trying to float and swim through as many people as possible but certainly not all. As a part of cost cutting, some of the employees need to be laid off so that the company and others can survive. Similar things happens in a lift, when it is overloaded; ship, when it is sinking and even airplane, when it is overloaded and etc. Something or someone needs to go out for the rest of them to survive.

But, what is the pattern? Who needs to be laid-off? When? How? There are many such questions that need to be addressed. Let’s move further and discuss.

The Pattern

There is a set process that needs to be followed at the time of laying-off. I am not sure how many companies actually follow it. Let me elaborate.

1) Freezing the recruitment. No new hiring.
2) Fresh graduates or those who are new to the market will find it difficult to get a job. More so, if they are not from A-grade institutes.
3) Last in, First Out. Among the employees who are already inside the company and are employed, the person who has joined recently will be the first one to go out. To be more precise, all those who are on their probation will be shown the door.
4) Average performers or difficult employee will also be shown the door. Performance records of last three years will be re-examined and reanalyzed and those with average or below average performance will be shown the door.
5) Outsourcing to increase. Most of the routine functions will be outsourced and those departments will be closed.

What more to expect?

1) Training and Development programs to freeze. No more expenditures on company sponsored training and development programs.
2) Perks, benefits and retention allowances to be withdrawn. The company will freeze all perks and benefits that has been extended to its senior employees.
3) Bonuses and incentives to be stopped. For the time being the companies will stop all the bonuses and incentives that are due to its employees.
4) Specialists are out and generalists are in. At the time when economy was booming, companies might have hired different people for different role within a function / department or most likely they have hired more than one person for a role, all these arrangements will go away and only those people who are willing to do the work of more than one person or those who can do multiple roles will stay in.

This is the basic process that is followed in many companies at the time of such economic crisis. What does it means to the people in general and what they should be doing? There is something to be learned from every crisis and this one is no different. Let’s discuss further.

Learning’s

It is not important to know what is happening across the world but it is important to know what is happening in your company. It is also important to keep an eye on the market situation and keep yourself updated with the latest. If you are the one who has been laid-off, then you must be the one falling in any of the above mentioned scenarios. I think you also need to take the blame of your current situation. However, there is no need to get panic. Hold your emotions and look around.

If you are the one who has been laid-off then you must do the following:

1) Time with family. Remember when you were working and working for 12-15 hours a day, how difficult it was for you to find some time for your family. Now is your time to be with your family. Spend some time with them. Strengthen your bond with them.

2) Improve your skills and personality. No one is perfect and there is a scope for improvement in everyone of us. Use this time to work on your areas of improvement and weaknesses. Sharpen your skills.

3) Work on your professional and personal network. Networking is very important for the growth of an individual. Use this time to build and strengthen your professional and personal network, so that whenever the market situation improves, you get the benefit of it.

4) Heading back to schools, colleges and institutes. This is also a good time for you to share your knowledge and experiences with new generation and to pass on your intellectual legacy to them. Get associated with some colleges and institutes to do so. There is a possibility that you might get paid for it, which in turn might give you the required financial support.

These are some of the ways you can spend your time during this phase.

Good time and bad time will always be there but when we pass through the good phase of our life we forget to prepare for the bad time. We get carried away. We do not plan for our future and difficult times lying ahead and crisis and adversities are part and parcel of our life that we cannot run-away from. Recession of one such crisis and we need to prepare our selves for all such adversities. We can do it in a following way:

1) Save generously and invest wisely. In such crisis, nothing but only your savings in the bank can save you. More the savings that you might have lesser will be your pain.
It is also important for you to invest wisely. The higher the risk the higher will be the gain and more higher will be the loss. Hence, one needs to think about it.

2) Both husband and wife should be working. In some conservative families, even in this 21st century, only males are allowed to work. But I think if both husband and wife works that also lessens the pain. If one person looses the job, the other will have and hence the money will still come in.

3) Keep updating your existing skills all the time and acquiring new skills. Don’t take anything for guaranteed. Learn and relearn. Keep the sword of your skills sharpen, all the time. Learn new things and that can help in your professional growth.

4) Have a hobby that can also be transformed into a profession. We all should have some hobbies. To do things in our spare time that we are passionate about. Painting, dancing, music, writing, acting and etc are some hobbies that can also be transformed as a profession, if required.

Now, these are few things that might help you to overcome any type of economic recession or crisis in your life.

Conclusion

I hope that the points discussed in this article will be of some use to the readers. We are in a situation where no one can actually help and there is no point in blaming the God or the circumstances for our situation. You cannot also blame the Government of your country or the company you was working for this situation. It is just a tough time and the fittest will survive, others will get washed away with the time.

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