Economic slowdown and layoffs:
This is the worst economic slowdown that the world has seen in the past 50 years. The forecasts and predictions are all gloomy every where. Guess how many people got laid off so far in the Top 500 American Public companies since November 01 2008? As per Forbes magazine’s “Layoff Tracker“, it is exactly 480,674 as of February 19, 2009. I do not want to scare the @#$! out of you, but this is really depressing. The usage of the “D” word is increasing every day. I was not born to see the Great D. But, this probably and hopefully the only Great D that I would see in my life time.
NC PMI Session:
I have posted about a NC PMI session where a gentleman named Doug Johnson did a session on transitioning in today’s economy. He was an amazing speaker and had a good sense of humor. For the first time in my life, I have seen a lady choked up and teary eyed in a professional session like this, when she was explaining her layoff story and how her 4 and 6 year old kids tried to help her by selling their toys to friends at school and bring that money back to her. It was a very touching moment.
Six Phases of Grief:
Experts and studies say that people go through the following phases during grief. I think getting laid off is one such situation.
- Denial and/or Bargaining
- Acceptance and Determination
Believe in yourself and bounce back:
One thing you should realize is the fact that “It’s not you who is responsible for what just happened”. There are a thousand different things and a thousands of other people who caused this. Also, the fact that you have been employed until a few minutes is a testimonial to your ability, skill and hard work. The last thing that you want to do is blame yourself or lose your self confidence.
Here’s a list of things that experts recommend you should do to get out of the setback, get up on your feet again and get going.
- Let your emotions out
- Share your grief with your loved ones, Spouse, Kids (yes kids, they’ll understand)
- Assess your financial situation
- Plan and prepare for medium to long-term, for life without a job
- Keep faith in yourself and plan the next steps. Prepare your resume, network with people, call that old friend of your whom you always wanted to but never did for a long time
- Do all the things that you always wanted to do, while you were busy burning out in your job, but never did.
- Do not lose focus and get discouraged, keep trying
Mr. Ben Parr, has written an article on Mashable about 30+ Websites to Visit When Youre Laid Off. He has given a step by step approach with a list of 30 websites that can help. Wall Street Journal has another article in it’s February 03 2008 issue, titled “Coping With Aftermath of Layoffs at your Firm“.
I hope none of you get into this situation. But, when you do, you can always get back on track. It’s just a matter of time.
Electronic Sourcing session by Sidd Chopra- A major disappointment
I attended the monthly chapter for NC PMI recently. This was my first . The chapter folks planned a session on ‘Electronic Sourcing’ session. Since, they did not provide any details on the website, against the event, I was expecting the session would be very relevant to Project Management and would probably cover the Procurement Management aspects. The speaker, Mr. Sidd Chopra, is a famous speaker in the triangle area and was also a former board member of the chapter.
Surprisingly, the event turned out to be a ‘Sales Pitch’ for a procurement tool developed by his company. Many of my colleagues who were at the session were also surprised that the chapter allowed the speaker for a sales pitch for his product. It was really disappointing for me personally, as I was expecting a session on procurement and even global sourcing as the main focus of the topic. I have provided the same feedback to the chapter. I hope they would take cognizance of the feedback and avoid such situations in future.
Increase in No. of People in Transition and efforts to help by the chapter
I have been regularly attending the monthly chapter sessions as well as Special Interest Group (SIG) sessions recently. Once of the main objectives of the PMs attending the session is ‘Networking’. Prime reason for this is either people have lost jobs or on the verge of losing. One thing I have noticed is that the number of people raising hands when asked “How many of you are in transition?” has been increasing steadily, but alarmingly. This reflects the trend of worsening economy. I hope things get better soon.
The chapter is trying to help the PMs in transition to support and help them cope up with the situation. There was a session a couple of weeks ago titled “Transition in Today’s Economy” by Doug Johnson. I found it to be a very good session. I will blog about some of the techniques that were highlighted in that session pretty soon.
I have come across this post on PPMNG Website, a social network for project managers. It is titled ‘Life as a contractor‘. It is a 3 part series where Mr. Trevor Roberts is sharing his experiences, merits, demerits of being a contractor vs. being a permanent employee (or Permie 🙂 as he calls it). This is a very interesting discussion, given the current situation where people are losing jobs or considering working as an independent consultant. It has generated quite some interesting discussions. For my part, I have posted these comments, which my take on what I have experienced with consultants/contractors/complementary workers in my experience. Please read through the post by Mr. Trevor and also sift through the comments if this topic interests you.
My take on this:
Interesting…I have always been on the other side of the fence. A few things I have found dealing with contractors:
1. Learning Curve : Not knowing the company policies, processes, standards will require more time to get up to speed. In contrast the permanent employees would know these better than a contractor
2. Relationship: Even in a matrix organization, it is possible that the PM would have worked or known his team from other projects or otherwise. This is even more so with the supporting organizations like Finance, HR etc.
3. Motivation: I do not want to stereotype or generalize, but what I have observed in a few cases is that the motivation to further the company/organization’s success is higher in permanent employees
4. Work hours: I am not holding this against contractors or demeaning their professional ethics, but the permanent employees are more than willing to work crazy hours to make a project successful. Delivering a project on time and within budget with good quality will always motivate a contractor but I have found this more of a case in a permanent employee
The two parts are titled:
I have not read these two yet. I will post my comments as well as share them here, once I am done reading. Your comments are welcome.