'The devil you know' keeps worried workers in place

'The devil you know' keeps worried workers in place

Summary: So, let's say that you're one of the lucky ones who slip out from under the economic downturn's merciless grip, and you get to keep your job. Aside from keeping your head down and by all means, not audibly cheering your good fortune, what do you do?

TOPICS: CXO, IT Employment

The comfort of the familiar trumps the fear of uncertain economic conditions, say workers.
So, let's say that you're one of the lucky ones who slip out from under the economic downturn's merciless grip, and you get to keep your job. Aside from keeping your head down and by all means, not audibly cheering your good fortune, what do you do?

While it is is of course a "gift" to "have a job at all" (as others will be sure to tell you), office life for those saved by the axe can be anything but a relief. There is a bigger work burden for each employee, who must then cover for a position or two that has been lost and morale takes a hit as the unsettled feeling about one's job security doesn't leave when the last pink slip is distributed.

There is more career conservativeness. Is this the time to job hunt, what with the job market flooded with established applicants with bad luck? Probably not, most workers rationalize, and choose to stay where they are.

If you're one of these people, a new survey finds that you're anything but alone. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. middle managers said that the economy was having a negative impact on their work environments, according to the survey released today by Accenture, a management consultancy. And despite the fact that more than half (53 percent) said that they were dissatisfied or only somewhat satisfied with their jobs, only 13 percent said they were actively looking for a new job. Nearly half (46 percent) felt that taking a new job in the current economic environment was risky.

There is good reason to be cautious, too, as it is hard to fully know the financial health of a company you may be considering jumping ship to. When layoffs come around, it is usually the newest employees who are given the boot, putting these professionals in exactly the place they were trying to avoid.

So what can be done? Accenture feels that employers whose ranks are filled with employees worried about their job security should do what they can to reassure them, and to help them cope, be it through opportunities for telecommuting, four-day work weeks or transportation subsidies. But if there is one thing for certain, it is that most employees are too unwilling to make waves right now to ask for these things themselves.

Topics: CXO, IT Employment

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  • I could not disagree more.....

    I don't look at work as a gift. I've always worked but its a
    necessary evil not anything that is given to me but that I've
    worked to achieve. I'm very good at what I do.... better
    than most. Work is not a charity business does not decide
    out of the kindness of its heart to give you work like a gift
    it NEEDS you and hires you and pays you with a certain
    level of resent because you are considered a cost. If it
    could let you go it would in a heart beet. The foundation
    of work is a battering system I have a skill that a business
    needs/wants and in traid they provide me with X each
    party brings a thing of value to the table and each walks
    away from the trade feeling they were fairly treated by the
    exchange of goods and services. END OF STORY.

    I'm not keeping my head down or my opinions to myself
    heck take a look at my recent self evaluation below. I
    don't give up my opinions or goals or self respect just to
    work for a company to me a company is just that a means
    to an end as I am to it.
    Name: James S. Quinn Date: 10/22/08

    Title: Desktop Support Specialist
    Manager: Craig Stephenson
    Department: Desktop Support
    Company: Never know from day to day

    1a. Accomplishments

    List your top 3-5 accomplishments during this review
    period. Include special assignments and other recognition.

    Oh man I don?t pay that close attention to things? Heck I
    don?t know what I had for breakfast this morning. I?m very
    cavalier about most things in life.

    However I did work on Inventory/serial number controls
    which includes labeling individual systems with
    Applications installed and serial numbers.

    Kept plugging away about standards and keeping them
    under control

    Was the original to introduce parallels to TMS and it?s use
    on the Macintosh to provide an all in one solution to
    computing needs.

    1b. Strengths

    I don?t get flustered in emergencies (I have the benefit of
    knowing I can handle anything thrown my way)

    I am painfully honest to everyone regardless of stature or

    I can be counted upon to get the job done. Including
    coming in during vacations to complete time sensitive
    tasks and am always available in case of a real emergency.

    2. Areas for Improvement

    In what areas would you like to improve? What can you and
    your manager do to help you improve?

    I am unmotivated. Fear is not a motivator for me that
    leaves very little else that can in our current environment. I
    don?t think Craig can help me (Don?t get me wrong this is
    not a comment about Craig?s abilities but rather the
    environment we both find ourselves in). What I would
    need is tasks that I can work towards that do not have
    constant second guessing and finger pointing, back
    stabbing involved. In other worlds I need to have complete
    responsibility for a given area and if anyone is free to jump
    in and over rule me than I am not in charge and I feel no
    responsibility for the end results. There is way to many ?I
    told you so? people in this company. Way to many
    ?Chicken littles? as well I could not be given the
    responsibility that I want and crave to be motivated to do
    much more than just what needs to be done. Sort of like
    the hero in Office Space. Oh and there are also the
    popular ?second guessers?. Not so much a motivating
    I?m VERY good at what I do. In fact it?s safe to say that this
    company has no idea of my true abilities and yet that is
    how good I am.

    3. Goals and Career Aspirations

    What would you like to accomplish during the upcoming
    review period? How can your manager help you with this?
    What are your career goals?

    Goals? My goal is to work in a place that does not have my
    future hanging on the next merger and following layoffs.
    My goal is to work hard and get rewarded for said effort.
    ?Effort vs rewards?. My goal is to be respected. My goal is
    to see people promoted to management because they have
    experience in their area not a meaningless college degree.
    My goal is to have a team of managers and supervisors
    that I can feel good about (not a select few)?? top to
    bottom where I can feel secure in their guidance, sound
    judgment, and ability to perform as a true team not the
    made up team concept I have witnessed over the years.
    TEAM is when everyone does their part for a common goal,
    and all share in the reward. I don?t often see that but I
    often hear the word ?team? used despite it?s lack of proper

    Other than that just getting by is OK too?.:)

    4. Additional comments

    Was this necessary?

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: I could not disagree more.....

      Nice one James.. I like your style.

    • Thanks, Jim!

      Your reply is now pinned to my cube wall! Kind of comforting to know that other folks working in the "team concept" environment share my "pain." ;)
  • There is something to be said for stability

    If anything, employees have been too willing to jump ship over the last 30 years, not too reluctant. People do seem to care a bit more about a company they've worked for 10+ years they do about one they joined last year and will probably leave the next (willingly or not). If employees care more, you tend to get better products, better customer service, and all the other things that ultimately result in higher profits.

    Nevertheless, as I've pointed out repeatedly, loyalty up never exceeds loyalty down, so employers do merit a lot of blame for the current state of affairs.
    John L. Ries
  • Is that a picture of Ballmer?

    After he got a perm? Either that or his twin..........

    Stability, stability, stability.....

    Developers, developers, developers....

    Ole Man
  • RE: 'The devil you know' keeps worried workers in place

    As a recruiter I can tell you that you are spot on- its one of the factors that hurts our business in these times.
    Past experience of recessions also tells me that when the economy turns around again - most of the by now jaded,tired workforce are on the look-out to move!
  • RE: 'The devil you know' keeps worried workers in place

    You may be very good at what you do, but it's apparently not English and Grammar.