Friday, August 10, 2007

I've been there

A friend of mine had "the meeting" yesterday. The mandatory meeting where your company's management team (current and new) discuss your company's acquisition/sale and impending layoffs. It's not an easy meeting to attend.

Usually, emotions are running high. While different employees may have knowledge of the sale, typically it feels like it comes out of left field. Many employees may be sole providers for their families and need to worry about mortgages, car payments, insurance. The good news is, while unemployment is not enough for most to survive, it is possible. And many companies do offer some sort ofseverance packages (my friend's company did not).

No matter when the meeting occurs, you always end up remembering the extra hours/effort you spent - wondering if it was really worth it.

I think this whole experience is sadly one that many of us (especially in IT) will face repeatedly throughout our lives.

In the past, most U.S. employees could work at the same company all their lives. Since I've graduated from college, I've only met a handful of people who've worked at the same company more than 20 years.

It's just a part of working in this country. While jobs are created and typically (in many cases) easy to find, jobs are not stable.

So my advice to most people is that you need to put yourself first in your career. Sure, loyalty to the company or a department is great. But it's important to be aware of where you stand at any given point. If you're not being challenged, not being appreciated, working lots of overtime without any noticeable gain - that's when you need to take stock of where you're at.

I do think loyalty has its benefits. You don't want to seem like you're changing jobs every three months. Some overtime is probably going to be requested no matter where you go (in IT). Some things will be the same no matter where you work.

I feel strongly that everyone needs to put themselves (and their families) first. It sounds cynical, but no one else will look out for you when things come down to the wire. If your mental health is suffering, physical health, etc. by a job, then it's time to really look hard at what's going on. My husband always says "do the job, don't let the job do you". I'm not always able to take that advice - but it has been useful advice in the past.


Anonymous said...

Well said. I think the mistake many make is failing to realize that a company is an entity, not a person, and as such, it often acts impersonally.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I completely agree. It is always a good idea to keep your eyes open for new opportunities, while realizing what your current job has to offer. I also think that it is easier to jump up the career ladder by doing a little job/salary hoping.

Anonymous said...

Oh sister, you are speaking my language COMPLETELY. I always advise everyone to think of themselves first, and to not have false loyalty to companies or even nice managers and colleagues within companies. Those companies won't hesitate to cut headcount when needed, and loyalty and longevity will not enter the conversation at all. Yes, do your best at your job and deliver top-notch work, but do it because it's good for you and your career, and makes you slightly less likely to be cut. Everyone's career is their personal responsibility.

I'm a wee bit passionate on this topic... :-) Nice post, Aerin.

Anonymous said...

Btw, that is the perfect photo to accompany this post. Nice.