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Part 1: The Reality Of Things

This is unprecedented time. This is pandemic time. This is hard time. For you, for me, for almost everybody. My 'everybody' include the cats, the dogs, the lions, the tigers and any life that needs sustenance. Let's zoom in ('zoom,'such a popular word during this lock-down age) on the human situation. This will make an easier lead to 'keeping a job' thing than speaking for the other species.


Bosses can't survive the losses. Employees face the spectre of becoming 'unemployees.' The super poor, according to the UN will be hit with, God forbid, starvation. Many super rich will also be in pain. I am not one of them nor in their circle to know for sure. But reading at how they are still grappling for money, I sense that losing 10 B of their 50 B makes them feel impoverished. There are going to be many pity parties. Maybe, virtual pity parties. Social distancing rules. Or risk losing 10 B and a few lungs. Lungs are not my expertise. Jobs, I know a few truths and rumor. 

Ex- Cube Dude

This is my PhD: gainfully employed for more than 40 years; 35 years with one high tech company. I aged from 24 to 59.The company grew from 400 Million to almost 40 Billion. I have very little control, over both.

So I am writing as an ex-cube dude. Offering some 'insider information' to those who might need it. People who need their job. This is insight from participating in two cycles of the 'selection process.'
Heart wrenching painful exercises of having to let the 'less best' go.

Caveat. This is not a vaccine to protect you from being 'let go.' Think of this work as an immunity booster. The bottom-line is that you might still get it. I would like to think that information in this post will give you a better chance surviving, than being a perfectly healthy Covid-19 casualty. 

The longer the lead time you have to the inevitable 'exercise,' the better your chance of pulling this off. Even, if you have shorter or no time, I have some advice for you.

Before anything, let's get the baseline set. If you are one of those who were hired in the era of 'people is our greatest asset,' you may take exception to this. You are still holding your job because you are still viewed a profitable proposition to your company. Yes, like anything in the warehouse, you are P&L. In the revenue per employee, if you are still a number into the equation, you are credited to have a multi-fold return on investment. You are also viewed as a performing asset, meeting critical success criteria. Whose view? Your immediate boss's view.

Are You an Asset?

In the grand scheme, your boss is very important. Your boss's boss is important. Your boss's boss's boss may be important. The company? Less important. Key stakeholders or your service customers? Critically important. Because sometimes, you can use them to boss your boss. This is the political dimension. Fueling your relevance? Your subordinates and suppliers are the most important, 60-40 (a gut feel estimate).

Again,why do you still have a job? Answer; you are a performing asset (just like machinery and equipment.) If it makes you feel better, let's call you a driver of performing assets. Despite paying you, and the others cash and benefits, the company still makes a profit. Short term break-even and small loss may be absorbed. However, when the panic button is pressed, get ready for the 'evacuation slide' to uncertainty.

In the '70s, LIFO was the preferred criteria. Last in, first out. I used to see many old men waiting to be served tea, when I was with a textile factory (tea ladies were a productivity solution.) Don't confuse this with FIFO; first in, first out for faster perishable goods. Today, the landscape is different. Robots are better at routine than aging experts, mass production don't require a mass of human beings and human eyes and brain are not needed to catch errors. The last in can hold better than the first in if he or she is considered as a strategic asset.

Breaking the 2000, we started to hear of strategic hiring, essentially hiring for the future. Staff that you hire now with the view of a critical need in the near future. So, your narrative needs to change. You have to help your boss relabel you as a strategic asset. You have to be; less dispensable, hard to replace, blessed with relevant esoteric skills, a crucial bolt in the succession plan or the owner's child. Then, you have a  better chance to keep a job. Not necessarily, your current job. But a job. And that is good enough. In this climate.

Our conversation continues... 

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