You are a good person.
You studied hard, you got your diplomas and degrees. You treat old people kindly, pay your taxes and don’t drown kittens in washing machines. You donate your used Prada handbags to the Salvation Army and blood too if you’re not queasy. You don’t jaywalk, litter or spit indiscriminately. You even use the indicator when changing lanes!
For this you should be granted a happy marriage, beautiful healthy children, a long rewarding career, a west facing condominium and an all-wheel drive Japanese 7-seater MPV.
Psychologists call this the Just World Hypothesis. According to this theory, people have a strong desire or need to believe that the world is an orderly, predictable, and just place, where people get what they deserve.
If you don’t have a poster of Sigmund Freud on your wall, just think of this as the “It won’t happen to me” syndrome.
The IWHTM syndrome cuts across all of facets of life but appears most noticeably in the workplace. You show up early and leave late. You win awards and carry your weight in the office. You will get hired, get promoted and eventually; get that corner office with the private parking lot. You will never be outflanked, fired, retrenched, restructured, downsized or rightsized. You will never be skipped over, ignored, ambushed, played out or politicized out of a job… because you did all the right things.
Unfortunately, this mind-set is as misguided as a made-in-Pyongyang missile.
Face it. Bad things do happen to good people, especially in the office. And you need to be prepared for when things go south. Regardless of your situation today, here are some important time-tested advice for you to take note seriously.
- Avoid the pity party and don’t take all the blame.
- The company you work for is a for-profit setup. It’s not personal.
- The best time to look for a job is when you don’t need it.
- The worst time to look for a job is when you need it. (Redundant to point 3 I know).
- Finding a new job takes time, don’t wait for the call-up to begin.
2015 has started with a bang. Company earnings are not looking too swell. China has missed its growth targets and other geographies are already projecting poorer outlook for the year and started belt-tightening initiatives. To add to all these woes, Tiger Woods is not hitting his stride and another piece of silverware to not likely any time soon.
This is an abbreviated googled list of actions initiated or to be initiated in 2015.
- Schlumberger cuts 9,000 (8%) jobs
- eBay – 2,400 (7%)
- AMEX – 4,000 (6%)
- Baker Hughes & Halliburton – 8,000 (5.5%),
- Microsoft – 18,000 (15%)
- IBM – allegedly 100,000+ (26%)
- EMC – Reduction in force plan approved with no numbers
- Standard Chartered – 4,200 (5%)
- HP – ~5,000 – 9,000
- Sony – 1,000
- Symantec – 2,000 (10%)
- Cisco – 6,000 (8%)
It’s going to get choppy folks. Make sure you have your life vests on.
This article first appeared in LinkedIn Pulse here