Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reality Bites; Be Ready

In days gone by, we expected the companies we worked for to take care of us. Maybe those who messed up big-time were fired. But if you put in effort, it was assumed the company was looking to keep you happy so you would do your best work. Employees, in return, owed their companies some modicum of loyalty.

Fast forward. Nobody gives a s***. It's a mark of our times that the following story is still making the rounds, although it happened in 1995: when Malden Mills, the inventor of Polartec fabric, had its factory burn to the ground, employees kept their jobs. ( 

Nowadays, the more usual headline story is that CEO pay is up by 5% this year--even after Occupy Wall Street (in the wake of the corporate bailouts of 2008) decried ridiculous pay packages. "Median pay of the nation’s 200 top-paid C.E.O.’s was $14.5 million" in the last year ( That's more than most lottery winners see. If you were to work for 40 years to earn $14.5 million, you would have to earn $362,500. Yet these guys (and gals) earn that much in a year.

Why can't you find a job? It's complicated. But this is definitely part of it. CEO pay up = jobs down is too simple, but definitely a contributing factor.

Anyway--what does this have to do with your job-seeking, job-keeping strategies?

Assume you may be fired tomorrow (or "laid off," or some other euphemism). Keep your resume updated, and your network connections current. Do not wait until you've been happily oblivious, feeling you've earned your keep with your 60 hour work-weeks and stunning productivity. Nobody is safe today.

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