Yes, these are tough economic times, and things look uncertain, if not downright bleak for the future. Job security is dipping, and many folks don’t really know if their jobs will survive the recession. Various companies across the world have been forced to ‘right-size’ which is nothing but a euphemism for downsizing or laying off employees.
Understandably, people who’ve been laid off tend to harbour bitterness for their former employers. However, do companies really like to chop off their human capital? I was rather shocked to read a set of articles on a popular website. In this ‘shocking chronicle of work experiences’ – as the site calls it, laid-off workers have expressed their opinions, and largely their angst against their respective employers.
I agree that it is a shocking chronicle – not because it is sad to see this happen but because it seems people were working in tandem with nasty bosses, ‘inhuman’ working conditions, low salaries, etc, without complaining earlier. But, the moment they lost their jobs, their employers became cold and heartless creeps.
As someone who has worked in the industry for long enough, I can assure you that laying off employees is not as plain as number-juggling for companies. The decision to let go of productive workers is never easy. A lot of thought is given to each such move.
A normal IT company spends huge on each employee (including salary, travel, training costs, medical insurance, and other benefits) for their training. And then, takes more months to break-even on that employee. So, for the first say around 8 months, the company actually spends money on you, and then begins to earn. And if after that, it fires you, it has to spend the same amount of time/money in getting another person to do your job.
Also, unfortunately enough, layoffs are not always performance-based. A person does not have to be a poor employee to lose his/her job. Sometimes, companies decide to stop focusing on certain strategic initiatives or on some dimensions of work, because they no longer add value. In a boom scenario, the displaced employees are absorbed by other departments. In a recession, they may be asked to go.
However, even though it could be tough, my advice to people who have lost their jobs is to not lose confidence, but to try and find something that fits your skill sets.
And to websites that post grim and morose tales like this, my suggestion is to post articles on alternate employment options, or how to cope with such a situation. I really fail to understand how reading someone’s sordid tale will help, if I’ve been laid off.
Perhaps, an extra dimension that employers could add – arrange for counselling sessions for laid-off employees. Yes, it is again a cost, but maybe you could look at it as something like your corporate responsibility to make sure that you are releasing a healthy individual – who will not consider alcohol/drugs/suicide/crime as alternatives at all.