Corporate Instability


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“Our company just downsized 10% of our workforce. I was not part of this round of cuts. However, it feels unstable to me. Do you believe companies tell the truth about their plans? What is best to do in the face of this instability?”

No, I don’t think they do. I don’t think they tell the truth about their plans. And the reason I don’t think most companies (some are, you know, unethical) tell the truth about their plans is that most companies are disincentivized to tell the truth about their plans. Because if I told you your house is going to burn down at 6:00 tonight, you’d start moving crap out of your house. You’re just smart like that.

So companies, good companies, values based companies, are constantly weighing the balance between what’s good for the employees and what’s fair and what they’re going to do. Hopefully your company, with this 10% layoff, hopefully they took care of them – gave them some severance, job counselling, whatever. I think the Plant Closure Act requires 10% or more to do certain things.

The way you personally deal with this instability though is to prepare. You know, are you ready, are you looking around at what’s available and what would you do? I call it scenario planning. If I’m part of the next round of cuts, what am I going to do? What is my specific plan?

Remember, if you focus on the fear and don’t focus on the plan, you’re just going to create a lot of empty emotional stuff. And you’re not really going to get things done. So what I want you do to is really focus on a plan in case you are involved. Stay away from words like “I don’t know what I would do” and that kind of thing.

If you want to go to your boss and ask them, then go to your boss and ask them “How does this look like the last round? What would you suggest?” Here’s a question I asked years and years ago when I was working in an organization that had layoffs. I asked my boss “If you were me, what would you be doing right now?” And it was such an interesting question because in that case, my boss was able to share with me what she would do without telling me what was coming next, and that worked out really well.

I hope that’s helpful, take care.

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