Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thriving in a Difficult Economy: A Tale of Ugly Babies and Sacred Cows

Keeping your job in this economy ...

"The brutal fact is—we’re in a difficult economy. Every day, we hear about another company that’s laying off employees. Just yesterday, an article on Yahoo! News reported “Mass layoffs involving 50 or more workers increased sharply last year, and large cuts appear to be accelerating in 2009 at a furious pace.”

In fact, there were layoffs at Yahoo! itself in December. Letting people go is traumatic for everyone involved. It’s traumatic for the employees who are laid off, whose relationships to their livelihoods—not to mention their friends and colleagues—are abruptly severed. It’s painful to the remaining employees, whose friends and colleagues were so abruptly removed. Sometimes companies must make deep budget cuts to succeed, but it’s painful, and those of us who have been through layoffs before agree that it seems to get harder every time we do it.

Who Stays and Who Goes in a Bad Economy?

When I look at who gets laid off though—regardless of the company—it’s always surprising. How do companies make the choices to lay some people off and keep others? In all of the layoffs I’ve observed, some of the most talented researchers, designers, and leaders have gotten laid off, while some much less skilled people remain. Why might that be?

The first thing to realize is that we should attach no stigma to those who are laid off. The vast majority of us will be laid off at least once in our careers, and changing economic circumstances will force most of us to find new work many times. In my experience, it’s not a question of skill or value. Sometimes, we’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, in order to grow, we have to take risks. By their nature, sometimes risks pay off, and sometimes they don’t. (I would suggest that user experience as an industry needs to reward risk-taking just a little more, but that’s another issue entirely.)"    (Continued via UXmatters, Jim Nieters)    [Usability Resources]

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