I had lunch yesterday with a couple good friends who
are working at big high-tech firms in the Bay Area. When we spoke of
the economy and their jobs, an interesting discussion emerged. We are
all standing around looking at increasing unemployment and a declining
economy but they said they feel like they are working hard and have
never been busier.
So as we continued, I pointed out that they must be
working on something important and for which there is some significant
demand. Nobody is working on “busy-work” at this point because
wasteful spending of corporate resources is too irresponsible.
We are hearing of layoffs everywhere throughout the
Bay Area and the nation — eBay, Yahoo, Cisco, AMD, etc. Unfortunate
as it may be, this is completely normal and most of us have seen this
cycle before. I believe that every company has about 10% of their
employees classified as non-performing workers that could be cut should
layoffs be necessary. Look around the group or team in which you
work. You could probably point to 1 out of 10 people around you that
the company could lose yet continue to run smoothly. That’s the nature
of corporate life.
I’d like you to think about this conversation when
the media continues to push unemployment numbers, or when you worry
about our economy. Apply these comments from some hard working friends
of mine and look at others around you. The positive way to think about
this is that 95 people out of 100 are still working hard to satisfy
customers or provide services. The ones not working will find ways to
survive by getting involved in a new venture, go back to school or
enroll in more training, or move to another area where jobs are easier
to find. This is all a natural cycle and it is not as dark as the
media would have us believe.