How to tell if your job is in danger from downsizing, privatization,
or re-engineering, and what you can do.
What Individuals Can Do
What Organizations Can
Do to Make Transition Easier
Time after time I read articles about someone being laid off without warning. Usually
there are clues that something is going to happen.
- Vendors visit the worksite.
- An "efficiency study" is done by a private company.
- You are asked to write a job description.
- Temporary workers replace workers who have left.
- If you work for the government, elected officials start talking about making government
"more like a business."..
- There are discussions about "restructuring" or "reinventing" your
- There is hostility between labor and management during meetings..
- Management or elected officials complain about high cost or poor quality of services.
- There are Legislative initiatives supporting privatization.
- Small parts of the organization, sometimes only a few people, may have their jobs
"contracted out" or replaced by a machine.
- Upper and middle management are leaving the company unexpectedly.
- Your competition downsized, and their stock went up.
- Management starts "rumor control."
- Equipment needed to do your job is not updated.
- The new CEO/CAO is nicknamed "chainsaw".
General opinion is that the survivors of downsizing are usually "team
players." In other words, the way they get along with other people (particularly
management) is more important than how they do their job. Here are some other suggestions
on what you might do if you want to keep working:
- Don't give in to despair. Continue doing the best job you can, under the circumstances.
- Keep current with the skills and education needed for your job classification. You may
think that the fact that you are the only one in the company that can keep "Old
Bessie" running is job security, but what if she is replaced by "New
- Brown nose.
- Don't bury your head in the sand. Try to pay attention to what is going on and be
prepared to jump to a safer position if necessary.
- See if you can get a job from the company to which your job is being outsourced.
- If you are represented by a union, join it.
- Let people (at all levels) know what is going on.
- Get input from all levels.
- If staff has to be cut, decide if regular attrition, early retirement, or retraining
would reduce the necessity of laying someone off.
- If outsourcing is being considered, find out if staff within the organization can
present a competitive plan.
- If jobs are outsourced, have the contractor agree to hire your present worker for a
reasonable period of time.
- Insist that the contracting agency provide the same salary and benefits to its staff.
- Provide training and placement services.
- Next: Dirty Tricks to Look Out For
- Revised 09/12/99
for CIS 212