Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hunkering Down

No, not because of a winter storm. That's what I had to do last week. No, this week I'm hunkering down due to an economic storm.

Last Friday the company I work for laid off about 37 people nationwide. That's small potatoes, you would think, compared to announcements of thousands of layoffs by some companies. But for us, that was 30 percent of our work force. That by itself would not be so startling except this is our forth layoff since November 2006. We peaked, sometime around May 2006, at about 265 people. We are now 105. Not all of that is specific to the economy, at least not directly. A certain good client cancelled a certain program in February 2006, not for economic reasons but for legal reasons, and 25 people were without projects. We hung on for a while without laying off, even still adding staff in key areas, but it couldn't last.

After that, we found obtaining new work increasingly difficult. One client after another decided to build fewer stores--or none at all. We experienced a lot of attrition, and did not replace any of those.

This might not be so bad except we don't know if this is the bottom. Might we go even lower? The economy, to me, looks like it will be in the doldrums until around 2016. Are we at a sustainable staff level, or is another cut in the future?

Oh, I survived and still have a job, but with a 10 percent pay cut, the second cut of that size during these times. The managers took a 15 percent pay cut after a 30 percent cut last time. I work for a good company, well-managed and compassionate. I'm still corporate trainer for engineering, but will have to be taking on more project work.

On a better note, this morning I reached an almost six year low in my weight. Yeah! Of course, with less money to spend for food I shall have to on my dad's diet: water only, and that just to wash in.

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