What is facing you today
No matter where you are in the chain of command, you are moving inexorably toward the day you will be removed from your company's payroll. If you are competent and under the age of forty, you can hope that another company will scoop you up before you have time to file for unemployment.
If you are over 50, you had better hope that your corporate culture is not going through meltdown or the frantic convulsions that precede closing the doors. If so, you have a very small chance of being rehired at your current salary.
You may be one of the lucky ones who work for a company that has a strong and viable culture. If so, do everything you can to support your management team.
In case you think this is a scenario out of a reject Twilight Zone script, think again. Talk to your friends in Sun Microsystems who have been suffering through at least four years of declining corporate morale. I wrote about Sun in my book, Danger Quicksand - Have A Nice Day, but I didn't imagine that Sun's corporate culture would continue to decay to the point where it is now.
I recently received an email from a veteran Sun employee who says, "We are completely devalued now as employees and are being shuffled around with no regard given to our abilities or contributions....This place is destroying my soul."
I am sure that he is not alone in his misery and I am sure that Sun is not alone in its state of internal confusion. If you work for Sun Microsystems, however, you know the culture beyond repair, but you have the possibility that Google may decide to buy Sun and give a few of you a new chance. Not every company is a prospect for a buyout.
What you can do
You have at least two choices in the matter. You can do nothing and hope that the company will continue to employ you until your Social Security kicks in or you can make the hardest decision you have ever made and leave of your own accord to find work elsewhere.
I received another email today, this one from a Technical Writer with 20 years experience who has watched the dissolution of the field of technical writing. She is making a transition into content management with the hopes she can keep afloat financially. She is having a hard time making ends meet right now, but she is focused on building direct experience day by day, so I am confident she will find her way through this period of difficulty. She has also read my book, so I have a vested interest in seeing that she achieves her goals.
Too many corporations are like the Titanic, they are coming apart at the seams, but are steaming full speed ahead into a marketplace that is changing faster than they can respond to it. They appear invincible and unsinkable from outside, but are riddled with decay and are managed by bozos who have cut themselves off from the people who operate the company.
The Titanic is an apt example of a doomed venture, because the ship was built of brittle, high sulfur steel and was captained by a calm dunderhead with a clueless bunch of directors to advise him.
If you feel that your company is listing to port or going down at the stern, pick up the phone and start networking immediately. If your company is strong and healthy, you have no need of this advice...today.
What will eventually happen
If you are like many of the people I meet every day, you will find a way to take control of your destiny and will find a place to live and work that allows you to support yourself and your family. It probably won't be easy at first, but you will find more satisfaction than you might ever expect.
Once you take charge of your life and stop expecting someone else to look after you or tell you what to do and when, you may just find that you are enjoying life again and are looking forward to the future instead of dreading it.
You will have successfully made the transition to post-corporate life. You will be joining one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. The rules are yet to be written, but the big difference is that you get to call the shots, not someone else. Make a little, make a lot, the choice is yours. At the end of the day, I think you will be more satisfied with life than you are now.
There are a lot of us working out our destinies in the corporate after-life. Come on in. There is plenty of room. You may enjoy it more than you think, especially if you prepare for it first.
Just remember, getting laid off is not the end. It can be the beginning of an unparallelled adventure.
Any of my readers care to corroborate or refute that statement?