Next On the Sack List?

Who me? Yes please. You?

Even those sacked, at first, found it hard to believe. The
conviction was that considering their performance, seniority or the company’s
dependence on them, they would continue to stay. May be the annual increment
would be lower but losing the job! — No way. Well! This is a WAKEUP CALL.
Please Wake up! Remember. "Being sacked is like being caught in the
rain." The rain has nothing against you personally but messes you up
individually. You could be in one of the following categories. Check which one:
already sacked ; prospect for the next list; a future candidate. There is no
fourth category. Before you disagree, take a look at the hard facts that make
you totally vulnerable. Then judge for yourself the extent of the danger and the
lack of preparedness to survive the crisis.

Fact: 1 The company’s survival is uppermost, yours is

The company must continue to be successful. Individual growth
is secondary. Today, investors also want to invest in companies that spell great
financial performance and those that can scale up or slash manpower resources
instantly to better the bottom line. Need for slashing often shows up as an
emergency. The costs just have to be chopped. The axe will then fall on whatever
number of people add up to the targeted saving. This is it. Nothing personal but
it hits you personally.

Fact: 2 Careers that last for 35 years are extinct:

Given the dynamics of the market situation, job requirements
are constantly changing. To even expect that you are equipped for excellent
performance for more than a few years is a mistake. The traditional practice of
joining as a trainee, moving up the ladder and retiring at 58 is a thing of the
past especially for careers influenced by technology. A software professional
for instance, is constantly dealing with the dilemma of adding more experience
in the existing technology or switching to learn and work with a new technology.
Even in non-technical careers, one has to be alert because technology affects
almost every job directly or indirectly.

Fact: 3 You have no contingency plan:

Like "What if you lose your job?". Is it okay if
your income stops and you are stranded without a source of income? Of course
not. But hardly anyone has drawn up a meaningful plan for such a contingency.
Only after losing the job, one realises the scenario today is totally different.
Companies that were flashing attractive offers are now reducing their staff
strength. Placement agencies that pestered you with offers are now already
flooded with job applications and are busy searching for clients willing to hire
people. In such a crisis, without a proper survival plan, most people feel
demoralized and lost. Suddenly they just don’t know what to do. Where to go
next. It is like a total blackout.

Fact: 4 Are you even excited about keeping pace with
forever-changing job demands:

Here you are, having to dance to demands of new technology,
new systems implementation, learning, retraining, rebuilding experience and ever
changing job requirements. Is this all life is about? Stop. Think. Look at it
seriously. If you are excited about this situation, fine. If you are not, better
to incorporate suitable changes in the career plan right now.

Fact: 5 Pink slips, layoffs and VRS are on an upward spiral:

Pressures on corporates to succeed financially will continue
to demand lower manpower costs and higher productivity levels. Consequently,
unexpected good-byes, irrespective of the label used, are here to stay.

As you look at these hard facts and at your own experience of
the changing corporate world, you will realise your career blind spots. A whole
new perspective will emerge about the urgency to evolve a whole new career plan.
A weatherproof plan that minimizes the shattering impact of being sacked on you
and your family needs to be evolved. Three plans are outlined here. You could
mix and match your ideas and information to draw up a personal contingency plan
that fulfills your requirements. Do include a system of periodical review to
incorporate new developments. Keep the plan razor sharp and ready for
implementation at short notice.

The revival plan (…already lost your job)

  • Strengthen your mind. Get off your ego. Forget old
    expectations. Make a firm resolve. "I shall not leave any stone
    unturned to land a job within 2 weeks". A strong commitment to an
    unreasonable time limit will help accelerate the process and enhance chances
    of success.

  • Make a list of prospective employers (at least 100)
    within and outside your industry. Create an excellent CV and just shoot out
    applications even where the chances appear dismal. Remember these are not
    normal times.

  • Be prepared with a pitch for a job even if it is at a
    lower level.

  • If you re-look at who you want to be five years from now,
    you will find a number of skills which you require to succeed but don’t
    have. Consider an assignment from one fo these disciplines even if it is
    from a different industry.

  • Consider completing the education/training that you
    wanted but never had the time for. Bad times for the economy means bad times
    for educational institutes. Pick up good discounts. A part time assignment
    at the same institute, depending on your profile, may be available. Take it

  • Keep innovating until you land a job. Remember the more
    you are forced to innovate the more you grow personally.

The survival plan (…how not to lose the job)

  • Keep Cool. You will hear all kinds of rumors from within
    and outside the organization. Separate the facts from the interpretations
    and store them with you. Gradually, you will begin to see a pattern in both
    "the facts" and the interpretations". Be clear that both
    these categories are prone to large errors. Do not panic. If you are feeling
    stressed, join a meditation course.

  • Fine-tune your early warning system. Listen to people.
    Read and watch news. Network with others in and outside the company.

  • Simulate. If you were in your boss’s shoes what would
    you do?

The carnival plan (…celebrating life)

For guys who are thinking ahead, a key question. If you were
not constrained by the need for money, how would you like to spend your time?
Come on! This is the time to revisit your dreams of financial independence which
allow you freedom to take any ride that you want and enjoy yourself. Do work
that you like. Travel to where you want. People don’t pursue such dreams
further because they cannot figure out how all this will ever happen. Set up
"financial retirement" as a game. To kick off the game requires only a
bold statement like "I am committed to retire financially by December 31,
2005." You may not be clear about the path to success but work on it. Keep
thinking, reading, asking and listening. How do I achieve it? Like some took up
jobs which offer higher earnings even if the nature of work is a compromise.
They looked for offers, which had scope for higher incentives. Often employers
have their own fix on the maximum performance you can reach. Many jobs
therefore, do not carry a cap on incentives. Opportunity to break through and
earn big. People, in this category are firstly keenly looking out for such
breaks. Many, for example, took up, after office hours, network marketing and
just went for it. Mediocre at their jobs but highly successful in network
marketing. This additional income accelerated them to their goal. Secondly, they
slash expenses. The idea is to create surplus that can be invested. Thirdly,
invest only in income generating assets. House, car, household items are expense
generating assets. Postpone these. Also, most of these assets lose value the
moment you acquire them.

Celebrate Life and pursue your heart’s desires for its
Carnival time 24X7.

This is a contributed article

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