Being a software engineer, I’ve worked with computers for many years, and one of the things that I can’t stand is when, after working hours on a project, I find out the hard way that the project was not saved. After spending all that time to get it just right, I have nothing to show for it.
You would think that I would learn!
So, the tedious process begins, trying to recreate the work that I just finished. An interesting thing I’ve noticed, however, is that the second time around I do a better job at the project I was working on than I did the first time.
Some software companies actually encourage prototyping and throwaway work for this very reason.
Jobs and the Economy
This same principle holds true with our economy and jobs. A given business that has been around for a while will have a certain number of excesses. There will be inefficiencies, or the business will be hindered by some previous decisions. Another company will then be able to get in and compete in the space that the previous (and sometimes bigger) business was not able to service.
This is true for the television, car, and other industries.
The People at the Jobs
The problem is that there are many people that work for these big companies. We were born to work—it’s in our genes. And when we find out that many around us are unemployed we hurt for them on multiple levels.
- We hurt for the financial squeeze that’s placed on their family—no one wants someone to lose their house.
- We hurt for their family and the adjustments that will need to be made.
- We hurt for their feelings of hurt!
But we’re a very conflicted bunch. We want the companies to be able to reinvent themselves. We want restructuring and a more efficient system. What we don’t want is for anyone to lose their job.
How can you have one without the other?
Idealistically, you’d want the company to plan far enough ahead so as to provide a way to grow without needing to go away. The problem is that efficiency sometimes necessitates layoffs.
What we need to do is not fear the layoff, but prepare for it.
Many people exist and work as if there will never be a change. They live their lives believing it will only ever get better, but that does not reflect reality.
In the ideal realm, people would plan for the downturn, or have a way to be able to refocus their efforts elsewhere. They would be able to be trained while on their current job for other skills—becoming more valuable to the company as well as in self-improvement.
Also, we need to change our outlook. If we are prepared for the layoff, then we can look at it as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. And how we approach these things is more than half the battle.