Retrenchment and How to Avoid being a Victim

Retrenchment should not come as a total surprise as the signs are visible. The Company’s products are not selling well due to market conditions. There   have been budget cuts, travel cutbacks, projects have been cancelled, managers have handed in resignations, temps and contractors have been terminated, there have been reductions in support staff, downsizing is rampant. Times are tough, the economy isn’t doing too well, firms are simply not seeing the kind of profits they were seeing a couple of years ago. Just last week you found out that your friend’s entire team was ‘let go’.  You can’t afford to lose this job, you like this job. God knows how difficult its going to be to get another one given the circumstances in today’s job market. Then again, you are good at what you do. You are smart, hardworking, you earned this job and you are going to keep it! Never forget they hired you because they need your skills. So how do you ensure your job isn’t on the chopping block?

Have a Positive Attitude:

Nobody wants to work with somebody who’s on a constant downer. Exhibit optimism and team spirit-a go getter attitude-all that stuff you went on so enthusiastically about when they interviewed you for the post. Stay positive, Act positive, speak positive, think positive. Do not complain, your job or your pay. Remember, there’s a long line of people waiting at the door, CVs ready, to snatch up any opening that’s available. Most importantly never ever say negative things about your job profile, timings, workload, colleagues or any other aspect of your job to, or within the earshot of, your boss. When making suggestions or bringing up matters that require attention, be neutral at worst, and helpful and proactive whenever possible.

If you feel the sudden urge to build a bond with your boss, make it as genuine a bond as possible. Taking up smoking so you can accompany the higher-ups on their smoke breaks is not only unhealthy, it also means you are working less-not the kind of thing you want to be doing. If you can, start taking fewer breaks. The next time a senior walks past your desk at lunchtime, you are going to be so immersed in work that you won’t even notice them noticing your dedication to the task at hand. Genuine hard work will go a long way. Come in early leave late. Do not do it the other way around. You want to be at work, at your desk, before your boss walks in and you want them to see you at your desk, showing no signs of leaving, as they are walking out. That being said, do not stretch tasks that were supposed to be finished and handed in yesterday.

It is vital that you keep abreast of current events, among other things you need to know include changes in the economy that are going to affect the industry you work in. So read and be aware of what’s going on in the economic and industrial world today. Use this knowledge when you take part in office discussions and keep your ears open to the opinions of those older and wiser colleagues who are more aware than you. Do not let yourself become lazy. During slowdowns, it’s all the more important that you stay on your toes. Be supportive of changes at the workplace, such as cost-cutting measures. If you can even help your boss to plan a strategy to further control costs.

It’s not uncommon for employees who have witnessed a round of lay-offs to feel paralyzed or trapped, but that’s the perfect time for them to reinvent themselves. Tough times often present the hidden opportunity for employees to put other skills to work, to multi-task, handle various roles, even if it is to a small extent. Employees good at multi-tasking not only help the company keep up the work pace, but ensure that they are more useful to the firm and hence less at risk in the next wave of job cuts. If you are good at multi-tasking and you feel you can do part of a laid off colleague’s job, go ahead to the boss’ office and let them know that you can help.

Taking on additional roles helps you gain insight info wider aspect of the business, increasing your knowledge of how the firm operates and what skills other tasks require. It also helps you to understand how your role at work connects with others. Plus, offering to take on additional responsibility can help pave the way for a pay hike when things get back on track and also add value to your CV.

  • KGS Chauhan

    Latest trend has been to quit the organization before it terminates your services, not because of incompetence, lethargy or in-disciplined but because the organisation develops a thinking that the person is not wanted anywhere or we may be paying him more than his capacities. Also, the developing organisation are in a tendency of hiring fresh candidates at higher salary than promoting its own employees just because of the reason the mind of super management does not accept him psychologically in a higher capacities.  It always reminds them of his past stature.  But it is very dangerous. Other people joined later may take congnisance of the such situations as hire and fire tendency of the management.

    The employers should become the best employers than becoming best paying masters. A person who has contributed for long in an organisation with satisfaction of the management should not allowed till he crosses boundaries of the rigid policies of the organisation.

    Retrenchment has become an old fashion in the growing organisations, they are always less staffed than the actual requirement.  Only the thing is, they start expecting the highly paid employees to go out and they employ a less experienced person. 

    Again, it is not a right practice. What they should do is change of profile and boudaries to be extended for their work/assignments. . 

  • Lekhas Krishnan

    thank you very much sir such an excellent  article,4 me it feels  like a good advice from my well wisher’s side.thank you very much

  • Klangatgeoffrey

    This is an highly informative text.
    Thanks very much sir.

  • Review Namanje

    Great words.This is really what makes a difference between lossers and winners at places of work and the world of employment.

  • Faijur_ali

    thank you very much sir,
    this kind of article increase our knowledge about what to and wahat not to do in such cases

  • Educationist04

    How not to become a victim of lay-off: Keep your eyes and ears open. Do not criticize your boss; if you cannot praise.  There will be some who would pretend to be a friend, but truly a spy of your boss.  Follow the old English saying: “Give thy ears to all, voice to only few”.  If you trust somebody, then do not speak loud in the work place rather meet in a coffee house or your home and talk freely.  Just do your work and keep friendship with only one or two you trust, and if any one comes to talk about the company or the boss/management, just do not speak and entertain any discussions. 

    Also, if within the company you have opportunity to help any one in another group, or offer ideas to your boss, do so freely. Never ever talk about the company.

  • Educationist04

    Anthony Tjan

    Why Some People Have All the Luck

    business builders just seem to have more luck than others. In fact, many of the
    entrepreneurs and business builders I know say luck is a driving factor in
    their success.

    But luck in business isn’t entirely, well, luck. There’s a popular saying that
    “you make your own luck.” This “make your own luck”
    principle has become a central chapter of a book I am co-authoring for Harvard
    Business Review Press. Luck, alongside Heart, Smarts, and Guts — turns out to
    be a critical factor in entrepreneurial DNA and successful business-building.

    the course of now hundreds of interviews, collaborations and interactions with
    entrepreneurs, my co-authors Richard Harrington and Tsun-yan Hsieh and I found
    that, while there are certain types of luck which you cannot affect
    (deterministic or probabilistic or elements such as where you were born, or
    which card you draw from a deck of 52), there is absolutely a lot of luck that
    you can meaningfully influence. Arguably, most of “business luck” can
    be influenced — i.e. you can increase your propensity to be lucky in business
    if you understand how.

    Being “luckier” in business is fundamentally about having the right
    LUCKY ATTITUDE. As it turns out, luck is as much about attitude as it is about

    We have found in our research that people who self-describe themselves as lucky
    in their entrepreneurial profile with us tend to be luckier because they have
    the right attitude. Their secret towards a lucky attitude — whether consciously
    or unconsciously- stems from three traits:

    1. At the foundation of a lucky attitude is humility. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, helped identify humility as one of the key traits
    of the high performing leader. Having a lucky attitude begins with humility and
    open vulnerability towards your own limitations. You need enough
    self-confidence to command the respect of others, but that needs to be
    counter-balanced with knowing that there is much you simply don’t know.
    Humility is the path towards earning respect while self-confidence is the path
    towards commanding it. But it is humility that humanizes leaders and allows
    them to be luckier. It is at the root of self-awareness, and creates the
    openness for one to take on our next lucky attitude trait — intellectual curiosity.

    2. Intellectual curiosity is an active response to
    Humility gives people the capacity to be intellectually curious. Conversely,
    people who are fully confident or arrogant are less likely to question their
    personal assumptions and outlook of the world. Business builders who are
    intellectually curious hold a voracious appetite to learn more about just about
    anything. They devour reading, listen to suggestions, and explore new ideas at
    a much higher rate than others. They are more frequently asking questions than
    trying to answer them. Ultimately they become luckier because they are more
    willing to meet new people, ask new questions, and go to new places.

    3. Optimism is the energy source to allow for
    positive change.
    If humility is the foundation for intellectual curiosity, then an optimistic
    disposition gives one the belief and energy that more, better, faster is always
    possible. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy: more luck tends to come to those
    who believe in possibility — to those who see the good in something before they
    see the bad. Optimists are givers of energy rather than takers of it. By having
    a positive disposition, such individuals are more likely to have a greater
    number of seemingly “surprise” encounters with good fortune. They are
    also more likely to act on what they find through their intellectually curious
    pursuits because they believe — always believe — in the potential for better.

    basic equation of developing the right lucky attitude therefore is quite
    simple. It starts with having the humility to be self- aware, followed by the
    intellectual curiosity to ask the right questions, and concluding with the
    belief and courage that something better is always possible (optimism). The
    luckiest people in the business world are those who hold all three elements of
    this lucky attitude equation of humility, intellectual curiosity, and optimism.
    They are the people who say to themselves: I am humble enough to say I don’t
    know how to make better/perfect happen on my own; I am curious and courageous
    enough to ask questions that might help make something closer to perfect; and
    finally I embrace the “glass half-full” optimism that the end result
    can always be improved, so let me act towards that objective. That is the
    mindset of the lucky business builder. It is one that most people can have if
    they are just willing to believe



  • Anonymouse

    Indian Job condition are very different due to the nature of the colleagues and Boss. They want to have all credits and share and leave problems and blame on others.

  • Educationist04

    I want to make my web and would very much appreciate if anyone who can design a good website for me I will be grateful and surely would reward the person who does.  I am a native of Chennai but live in the US since 1985. I am involved in technology, education, coaching engineers in emotional intelligence and leadership.  I was formerly a Senior scientist at the US National Laboratories/Professor. Now I teach and consult.  My email is

  • Educationist04

    Any intelligent employee must have sixth sense; be able to sniff before something happens. The best is attain competency in the area/s you are working; know the nuts and bolts of everything and about the company and the competitors.  Armed with these, you can be rest assured you will be in demand in the market.  When you sniff something is going to happen like lay-offs, resign and move on.  You will be surprized that when you resign, your boss will be very kind and offer a promotion. I have seen this in the US. 

  • Every employee needs to take responsibility for advancing their skills and knowledge. It not only helps “the perfect time for them to reinvent themselves”, it makes them more valuable to both their current employer and new opportunities. Build you skills.