Survivor 2010: The Workplace


This could be a great topic for the next season of Survivor! The inherent drama of the average workplace is just begging for reality coverage beyond the fictional documentary of “The Office.” I can already see the twists – uneven distribution of privileges and power, poorly managed dispersal of important communication, rumors, alliances and backstabbing, challenges, poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, torches…Well, that last one is absolutely necessary to the theme, but probably not OSHA-friendly.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all this drama are a lot of real-life, difficult decisions being made by management and executives. Oddly, many of these difficult decisions aren’t made based upon the ability of an individual to contribute to the success of the company. If a company didn’t have succession planning and/or talent management metrics in place before these decisions became necessary, they likely wouldn’t have time to create them in order to save some of their top talent.

And it’s not just the folks whose jobs are eliminated that suffer as a result. A study by the Institute of Behavioral Science (2003) suggests that “large-scale layoffs often produce damaging psychological and physical effects on survivor’s well-being” and “working in a chronic downsizing environment is worse than single one-time exposure to layoffs.” It would seem that what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t necessarily make you stronger when it comes to downsizing.

There are some good ideas, though, of how to be a true Survivor of Workplace 2009 – 2010. If you’ve been laid-off, there are equally great articles about how to best manage the transition. See below for resources for your situation…

SURVIVOR’S TALE: I was laid off and am braving the job hunt! What now?

SURVIVOR’S TALE: My friend was laid off! How can I help?

SURVIVOR’S TALE: I am still working, at least for today. How do I stay sane?

Clearly, in a climate of mass layoffs and downsizing the winners are the folks who come out of the trenches having embraced the change and maybe with something new! People are embracing market transitions as a chance to learn new skills, gain knowledge in new areas, take risks/create some stability, meet new people and/or give priority to different areas of their lives. How will you be a Survivor?

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