Superman would be fired today. As a matter of fact, Superman is the target for layoffs in many jobs. In today’s business environment there are times your job cannot be saved, especially if you are superior.
Peter was a highly skilled and paid IBM mainframe computer systems administrator. EDS asked him to become a Unix computer expert. He took the courses and started gaining experience. Nine months later he was laid off. EDS decided they could hire a kid out of college for half of what they were paying him. His high level IBM mainframe skills were not needed in Harrisburg. EDS paid him well for 20 years, they didn’t figure they owed him anything. Peter was “laid off” for following the career plan his company suggested.
There are 3 basic reasons one person is laid off and their coworker is not.
- You made too many mistakes. You were really fired for cause.
- You had fewer skills or less seniority.
- You were incredibly skilled, but too overpaid for the new role they needed filled.
Most people see number one or two coming. They consider them fair even if it hurts horribly to lose a job. Number three is the toughest one. You are fired for your excellence. Someone cheaper and less skilled is kept. It feels wrong, but from a business point of view, it may be essential. You can’t overpay to get a job done and stay in business.
Never lose sight of what exactly you are doing for your company TODAY. If technology or cheap labor is turning your job into a commodity, start major retraining today. As a matter of fact, never stop retraining and improving your skills. It may seem like a lot of work, but if you are being paid more than $10 an hour, there is already someone else offering to do your job for less. Make sure a cheap worker doesn’t have the skills to replace you.
Something to do today
If you have survived layoffs in the past, figure out why. If you have received substantial raises or no raises recently, make sure you are still a keeper.
And as a thought about finding your next job:
There are three kinds of death in this world. There’s heart death, there’s brain death, and there’s being off the network. (Guy Almes)
Later: 20 second interview prime time
Should I trust an HR recruiter?
Should I trust an agency recruiter?
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