I read the news today that Intel plans to cut 10,500 jobs, or 10% of its workforce. Savings are said to be about $3B a year after the inevitable couple years of adjustment.
Whenever I read things like that, I can’t help but think about the dramas unfolding tonight in the kitchens and living rooms of some of those that were laid off. Despite all the impending signs, I can bet with total certainly that there were some affected employees totally unprepared for the news. They went home with a dazed look on their face and realized:
- They have no savings
- They have no idea how long they can go without working
- They don’t have any "gig" on the side to bring in some extra cash
- They have no idea what their next career move is going to be
- Their network is solely made up of work colleagues from Intel
- They didn’t think that their job would be on the line this time around
- They have no idea how to market themselves
The power of denial is very strong in many of us (myself included sometimes!). Until you actually receive notice that you are losing your job, you rarely do anything to prepare for it. So if you don’t want to find yourself in the same place as some of those poor souls today, please do the following:
- Get your financial house in order. If you get stuck or overwhelmed, call a professional.
- Get out of your comfortable circle and meet some new people. Go to an interesting conference where there are people from all kinds of companies and industries. Take a night class at your local university, volunteer in a professional business association or check out some new online forums.
- Start working on a side gig. I think that the way the world and the economy are going, we ALL are going to have to know how to generate income from more than one primary source. You can start small – do one consulting project. Sell a piece of your artwork. Get a paid gig with your garage band. Invest in a rental property. You need to start experimenting with different ways to make money so that you don’t paint yourself in a corner if your job goes away.
- Take your training and learning seriously. This is not the time to slack off at your job, it is the time to drink great mouthfuls of the fire hose of information spraying at you. Don’t be the smart-ass student in your communication skills class, be the teacher’s pet. Take on new and different projects that develop new skill sets. Complete certifications, take advantage of tuition reimbursement and attend all relevant in-house training that you can.
- Spend time thinking about your next career move. If it is your own business, start working on it.
Please don’t fall victim to the "I didn’t see it coming" syndrome. A pink slip (especially with a severance check stapled to the back) can be a great blessing if you are prepared.
Good luck soon-to-be-former Intel’ers! I hope your transition is better than I imagine.
I am the Assistant to the Labor Commissioner here in Oregon. We (the Bureau of Labor and Industries) have a bill addressing the adverse affects of non-compete agreements for laid off workers. We only have until TUESDAY the 13th of February to find folks willing to submit testimony, written or in person. DOES ANYONE KNOW ANYONE WHO WAS AFFECTED BY THE RECENT INTEL LAYOFFS AND THEN DOUBLY WOUNDED BY A NON-COMPETE??? If so, please email me at: MazzaraE@state.or.us.
There are a lot of my co-workers in Intel that are still unprepared. I used to be a consultant before I started working for Intel. I never got out of the habit of keeping my resume updated, living within my means, having 9 months emergency living expenses saved, continue to keep my social/professional network contacts up, etc.
There are a lot of folks who still aren’t prepared despite the warnings that were given well in advance. It amazes me how optimistic people are. They’ve said how many jobs will be cut but people still are playing the odds. Several of my friends/co-workers haven’t even bothered to update their resumes?!? This is bad for them but good for me. While they are still thinking about how to make ends meet and starting to build their resume I’ll already have applied for the available jobs and because of my emergency funds will be able to be a bit more selective in my job search.
I truly hope I am not one of the ones who gets cut but if it happens so be it. I’m prepared and will move onto without a second thought.
Intels Layoffs and the Im Helpless Attitude
Today Pamela Slim over at Escape from Cubicle Nation wrote a very important piece saying There must have been a few surprised Intel employees amidst the cuts. She is of course right, but Id like to go one step further and bet that …
I’ve counseled literally 100’s of people who were laid off… mostly factory workers. And most of them “knew” it was going to happen but were still completely unprepared. Then when “reality” hit they were completely dependent on unemployment payments from the state and the grief/shock/awe sometimes persisted until they no longer had time to get training, etc.
The hardest is the last point: marketing yourself after eons of ‘following orders’…
Hi Pam! Its actually worse than you think. There are many people still asking the question “should I be updating my resume?” I heard it twice today. The denial is at record levels. Everyone knew it was coming but nobody thought the numbers would be as large as they are. And so now, everyone starts to panic. I’ve maintained everything you recommend since I started here 8 years ago. I own me Inc. and life is good no matter what happens at Intel.
Thanks for confirming my hunch Brent … although it has been awhile since I had my feet inside cubicle-lined walls, I would be surprised if behavior had changed so much.
Perhaps your colleague who commented earlier was in a very proactive part of the company … either that or didn’t have a broader picture of what was going on in the company.
And “should I update my resume?” is a pretty scary question at this stage of the game, when what should have been happening is lots of research about the job market in their area, and networking like hell.
I’m glad you are in control of your own destiny – that is the most important part, not necessarily your state of employment (as in employee vs. entrepreneur).
I do really feel for the employees – even when you know it is going to happen, it can’t help but make you feel a little disappointed. I guess most of us like to be the one who calls off the relationship. 🙂
I’m sorry for non Spanish speakers, this is a manual trackback to an Spanish blog.
El blog de Jaizki >> El mito de la estabilidad laboral.
(…) la estabilidad laboral, es un cuento chino. ¿Tener una indemnización por despido es estabilidad laboral? La única estabilidad es tu empleabilidad. (…)
Respecto a este tema he leído hoy un artículo muy interesante en Escape from Cubicle Nation: There must have been a few surprised Intel employees amidst the cuts.
I’ve been in that situation before where I was supposed to have my annual evaluation but there was a person from HR there and I got a severance package. I wasn’t prepared for it at all and although it was sufficient to get me on my feet again in a much better job and get rid of some debt I could have made much better use with it.
You make some very good suggestions though most people would be unprepared for such an event even if they know it’s coming. I was caught off guard but there were some warning signs that I noticed in retrospect. Most employees will if they keep their ears to the ground know what’s going on. It’s not hard; the harder part is actually getting yourself prepared for any eventuality (not just loosing your job).
great comments. I was a result of “everyone knows its coming” but until you actually know that you are the one it is still not a reality. Why do people work in companies where they know that they are LIKELY to get let go, no matter how good they are? I just read a post that said “your career belongs to you, your job belongs to your employer”. Amen.
They knew it was coming, but that doesn’t mean they are prepared. You provide good advice.
I left Intel 3 years ago and sent out linkedin.com invites to old friends yesterday. They can use all the help they can get…
Great advice, Pam. The bust of 2001 sent me in the line of thinking you have here. Robert Kiyosaki talks about building an ark and every household needs one of their own making.
I feel for the Intel people who get impacted. Very sound advice to take. Consolidation in IT and telcoms is ongoing and there will be more RIFs.
This is really good adivice. The bottom line – don’t be 100% dependent on any one job or company for your livelihood. Things happen – whether sufficiently forewarned or not.
I completely disagree with you there was any Intel employee that has been caught by surprise. The rumors of layoffs have been around for months!!! One would have to be living under a rock at Intel not to know that layoffs were coming. In fact, the only surprise here is it has taken this long to happen. Many thought the announcement would happened in July.
That is great to hear – I would love to be wrong with my hunch! Thanks for sharing the inside scoop. In my experience observing many, many RIFs in companies all across the U.S., what I saw is that some people did listen to the words that “the sky was falling” and did know that cuts were happening, but somehow deluded themselves into believing that they weren’t coming soon, or wouldn’t happen to them. Also, the key is that although they may have been aware the cuts were coming, they did nothing to prepare for the reality of life without a steady paycheck.
I don’t mean to pick on employees since we all deal with stress in different ways. I remember being an employee and waiting for the axe to fall after a merger – it was a sickening, strange and kind of paralyzing time. I just want to use this announcement to wake all of us up that job cuts continue, and the time to get prepared is NOW, when your job and company feels stable.
If everyone that lost their job at Intel is prepared and has a plan for transition, that is GREAT and should be applauded.