Author Topic: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it  (Read 34186 times)

Seren

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2008, 09:04:30 AM »
housing, mortgages, finances, many businesses - lots of struggle for people happening here now.

A friend works for Honda and despite BBC saying no lay offs for Honda, the company he works for is a subsidiary and they are having a lot of redundancies.

Some companies are doing well, the cheaper supermarkets and the £1 shops doing very well.

Mark Mushet

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2008, 12:05:32 PM »
My wife and I both work in publishing; she's in book sales for Random House, and I edit a "literary" magazine. Things have been kind of tough for the publishing industry for the past several years. As the big booksellers teeter (Borders, as an example), and the continuing questions about the future of reading and the medium by which people will read linger, the only certainty is uncertainty. 

Actually, hard copy reading materials are certain to continue. Here, all the online "magazine" people simultaneously say the web is the future...while secretly wishing to be in print. Bet hedging like that doesn't help.

And the major bookstores are like the auto sector; re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, removing local decision-making power that would help sales and generally transforming themselves into tacky gift stores. Chapters/Indigo is a good example. When times were good they initiated supplier payment strategies that were punishing of many small publishers.

Here, those of us into serious literary publishing have seen no difference. As one of Canada's best writers recently said: "I never saw the boom in this field so I'm sure to be untroubled by a bust". The Oprah-inspired crowd may see thing differently as their reading habits are less deeply ingrained.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:52:56 PM by Mark Mushet »

Brian Bieniowski

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2008, 01:22:10 PM »
I think where you're seated in publishing makes a difference.  I suppose my own magazine could be classified as literary publishing, in the sense that relatively few people buy it, so we are, in some respect, insulated from economic crises by the hardcore following.  Yet our company still had layoffs this year.

I didn't mean to imply that electronic publishing is going to take over or anything like that—I've never seen convincing numbers to even suggest that'll be happening any time soon, and I'm not convinced by any of its proponents rhetoric.  But the real numbers are shrinking, and, I suspect, what we're seeing is the inevitable correction where you've got the actual number of readers represented.  That's the big elephant in the room, it seems to me: people read less, and what are we supposed to do about it. 

This week they were calling it black wednesday: layoffs at Simon & Shuster, Houghton Mifflin, Random House, (possibly at Macmillan, FSG, and St. Martins soon).  Ballantine and Bantam doing major restructuring.  Raise freezes at Pearson (includes Penguin group) and Harpercollins.

Me?  I'm troubled by a bust.  ;)
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:31:37 PM by Brian Bieniowski »

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2008, 01:46:58 PM »
At my "day job," still no layoffs planned, but today we decided that production personnel would go to mandatory 6 hour days for the next 2 weeks.  It would probably be mandatory short work days for the next 4 weeks, except almost everyone will be on vacation the last half of December, anyway.

Layoffs still might happen in the new year, again limited to production personnel, not office staff.
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Mark Mushet

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2008, 01:56:45 PM »
I think where you're seated in publishing makes a difference.  I suppose my own magazine could be classified as literary publishing, in the sense that relatively few people buy it, so we are, in some respect, insulated from economic crises by the hardcore following. 

This week they were calling it black wednesday: layoffs at Simon & Shuster, Houghton Mifflin, Random House, (possibly at Macmillan, FSG, and St. Martins soon).  Ballantine and Bantam doing major restructuring.  Raise freezes at Pearson (includes Penguin group) and Harpercollins.


Here's our story:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20081117.LTAYLOR17/EmailTPStory/Life

Yet the larger local publishers refuse to support us through advertising while we do features on their books. They're happy to quote from our reviews in their press packages and on book jackets and they complain about a lack of venues that review their books yet...nothing. So I have no sympathy. None. They can swing.

OTOH there are small, independent presses who find ad revenue in their tiny budgets and they are both rewarded and continue to exist, downturn or not. So the excuse of "hard times" from the majors fall on deaf ears here.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 02:23:29 PM by Mark Mushet »

hdibrell

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2008, 02:08:34 PM »
There haven't been any layoffs at my company yet, nor have I heard any rumors of any. That doesn't mean there won't be. I work for a veterinary lab and this is the slow time of year anyway. It has been slower than usual, though. I worry that some of the vet clinics in rural and in poorer sections will not make it through the winter. In the more affluent areas there hasn't been as big of a drop, naturally. These are uncertain times. I feel for anyone who has lost their job.   :(    Harry
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Mark Mushet

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2008, 03:02:50 PM »
In my experience the top executives never suffer at all, no matter what happens.  And now we find out that portions of the bailout money are to be used to maintain executive bonuses, etc?  Madness.
What we do most often is place more responsibility on fewer employees.  There was a time when I had an assistant and people in other departments doing things that I now do alone.  And the company hasn't replaced any people who've left over the last year or two.

Both of these things are syptomatic of what a well known economics prof here calls "The North American 'Fuck You' School of Management". It operates by perpetuating and maximizing fear and insecurity in the workforce for short term gain. If the economy recovers, odds are that your company will have 'normalized' the new workloads for people and not rehire. That seems to be the model. Western continental Europe largely avoids this mindset but tends to go too far in the other direction.

That people working in such environments lard their lifestyles with SUVs and debt is just amazing to me. I wonder if "conservativism" will ever regain its true meaning and political application in the  future.

darkenedsoul

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2009, 02:51:19 PM »
Well I just joined the ranks of the unemployed as of Tuesday (and there was MUCH drinking tuesday evening ;-) ). It sucks, but I'll get by hopefully. I didn't call unemployment yesterday as I wasn't in the spirit of things. I'll call next wednesday. I have to sign and return a document to the company in order to get 5 wks severance (which they didn't have to give me since they are a startup). So it's job searching, networking, guild wars playing time again!


Wayne Higgins

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2009, 03:59:20 PM »
Good luck and enjoy the time off.  I'll drink one for you tonight 8).
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caul

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2009, 03:20:10 PM »
Sorry to hear that some of you have lost your jobs. Hang in there, you never know what good things lie ahead for you.


The company I work for has been downsizing for several years now. Our insurance isn't what it used to be but costs more, we haven't  gotten a match on our 401k for a few years now. Starting the beginning of this year, we all had to take a pay cut and a cut in hours. I've managed to be valuable enough to keep so far and now we're really down to a small group of employees. I think the company can stay in business but most of the employees are pretty worried about their jobs. I'm not too worried, there's nothing I can do about it. I'll worry about getting a new job if and when I need one, in the meantime I'm thankful that I do have one and that I have my health. The only debt we have is a mortgage (pretty low in the amount and the percentage rate on the loan) and some school loans from my wife. The last few years we've trying to get rid of debt and generally lower our need for money. I'd like to be in the position that if I had to work at McDonald's, we could still pay our bills. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm getting closer. Who knows, I could be applying there before too long!


Wayne Higgins

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #50 on: January 30, 2009, 03:24:53 PM »
It's getting to be a hardcore dog eat dog world.  We got a new analytical instrument at work.  My boss asked me if I have writen down any notes about it.  I show him one post it note.  It said "run low range".  Job security. ;)
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mgriffin

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2009, 03:36:23 PM »
When I started this topic, my company's activities (talking about the day job, not Hypnos) had slowed a little but we'd gotten by without layoffs yet.

Since then, business has slowed more, we've lost a few more employees through attrition (or in two cases, being fired to attendance problems that probably wouldn't have gotten them fired in a better economy) and still had to lay off four people.  We had tried reducing the work schedule to 30 hours per week, from 40, and that worked for a while but eventually some of the longer-term employees said "If we're really not that busy, we ought to lay off some newer guys, rather than make everyone suffer," so that's what we did, and now we have 26 full-time production guys, compared to the 30 we had a month ago, down from 40 a year ago.

Also my boss took the unexpected step of offering unpaid time off to salaried employees, something a few of us had suggested (since we wanted an opportunity for more days off, even if it meant not getting paid) and he had always said no dice.  So, from mid-January to mid-February some of us have been taking unpaid leave, a day or two at a time.  The boss himself took a full week unpaid.  It sounds like the boss will extend the option to the rest of us for another month at least, and might even apply a little pressure to everyone to take some time unpaid, not just those of us who can afford it (and who value time more than money).

Interesting times.

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darkenedsoul

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2009, 06:31:53 AM »
Good luck and enjoy the time off.  I'll drink one for you tonight 8).

Thanks! I did plenty of that Tuesday night....but the kicker is I knew something eventually would happen for various reasons, like train the 2 newest guys in the group on the stuff I'd been responsible for doing all the testing on to get them up to speed to "lighten my load" so I could do other stuff. Yeah, like nows a good reason to lay him off for other reasons not documented (out a few times...).

Oh well, I'm hopefull I'll find something reasonably quick, like a month or two. Things are tight, there are some jobs I've got qualifications for but I know they are looking for the things in the requirements I don't have so I usually don't put in for them. Seeing how bad things are I will still submit for them. Just to show unemployment I'm submitting for jobs weekly so I can stay collecting till I land something or hit the lottery.


Wayne Higgins

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #53 on: February 01, 2009, 08:58:00 AM »
I am begining to believe that this whole economic crunch could be used to our advantage.  Humor me, read on, then reply.  I don't know how many times I have had to conform to the whims of the company I am working for.  I now work in a place where I can play music all day long, my hair is longer than it has ever been, and I don't catch hell if I am late.  Flip side is that my boss knows that I will stay as long as it takes to get the job done, and that I will work on the weekends if necessary.  I got to thinking this week one day on the way to work, a few lines from Thoreau's "Walden":  "For more than five years, I maintained myself that soley by the labor of my hands, and found that, by working six weeks a year, I could meet all the expenses of living." "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  "Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indespensable, but positive hinderences to the elevation of mankind".  (and here's my favorite part) "In large towns and cities, where civilisation prevails, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole."  Now, I am not suggesting that I wish to go live under an overpass, but the idea of the people actually owning anything being a ridiculous notion dates back centuries.  What I am trying to get at is that if we don't really own anything, why are we stressing ourselves out to keep up the credit rating on banks that are failing themselves.  My wife and I are having a continuing argument over a $26 bill.  I refuse to pay it, she says "they'll ruin our credit."  I respond that if we haven't done anything bad in 15 years, a $26 bil to a bunch of thieves in India isn't going to scare me.  We put up with a lot of shit, and it's time to say enough is enough.  I read Friday that Exxon has posted another year of record high profits, and today a story that banks are outsourcing to foreign counties.  They are all out to keep the American people in a sate of fear, working our little asses off so our credit score doesn't drop below 600, while the banks themselves have scores <100. 

So, where am I going with this?  I'm really not sure.  All I know is I don't train anyone anything unless it is to my advantage.   That no one knows what I really do, but they all know I get alot of work done.  One old story always comes to mind.  A company in Dallas was being taken over by a company in Conneticut.  The major item was controlled by a computer program writen in assembly code that was writen by two men that were about to loose their jobs.  They went in one night, and the program of 8500 lines of assembly code that controlled a big industrial machine, they erased all the documentation.  On line 4500, they wrote "Now here's the tricky part".
So, I'm a "Sr Member", huh?  In June it's SENIOR DISCOUNT TIME!!!
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darkenedsoul

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2009, 06:14:26 PM »
No luck so far still. Went to another local job fair = waste of my time. Raytheon has the *go to website* for jobs (same as lincoln labs at previous fair). This seemed geared to other fields that my background but I went anyways.

Had a call from a person whom I assume is a recruiter for a job at IBM. I'll be calling him tomorrow to check in on this situation. I suspect it will be a contract job. Thing is, I don't know if unemployment would/could hold that against me if I decided to not take it, if it was available for me after interviews. I want a permanent job w/benefits/medical insurance so I am hesitant on this one. I'll know more tomorrow.

One place responded to my submission with a couple questions (SDLC and C++) which I have experience obviously with SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) but no C++. She got back to me with *not a fit* which is what I expected. I'm finding a LOT of the jobs I am looking at have requirements that I don't have, i.e. java/C++/C# development experience. I am looking at taking an online class or two for C# and C++ as well as Java to get my feet wet but they won't count towards a degree. At least I'll get some exposure to the languages. I do want to get into that area, i.e. development in a QA role or even development itself but need to get experience with the languages in question. I'm also seeing a lot more SQL requirements, I'm not *quite* there with regards to what they are looking for in a QA role (schema development, etc...) but have exposure to SQL command line queries, just not as in-depth as they are looking for = frustration. It's not that I can't do it, I just need the exposure to the schema, etc...so I know what I am querying for!

So, job hunt goes on. Nothing breaking so far. I knew it wouldn't be a quick time-off at this point due to the economy, meaning LOTS more people via-ing for small amount of jobs = tougher competition/skillsets.

Anyways, not too depressed yet. I just want to see some unemployment money start coming in soon so I don't worry about what I have left in my savings/checking. It's been a month so I expect checks to start showing up soon...I hope. I may call them about that this week....

Mike

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #55 on: March 01, 2009, 06:51:48 PM »
I am begining to believe that this whole economic crunch could be used to our advantage.  Humor me, read on, then reply.  I don't know how many times I have had to conform to the whims of the company I am working for.  I now work in a place where I can play music all day long, my hair is longer than it has ever been, and I don't catch hell if I am late.  Flip side is that my boss knows that I will stay as long as it takes to get the job done, and that I will work on the weekends if necessary.  I got to thinking this week one day on the way to work, a few lines from Thoreau's "Walden":  "For more than five years, I maintained myself that soley by the labor of my hands, and found that, by working six weeks a year, I could meet all the expenses of living." "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."  "Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indespensable, but positive hinderences to the elevation of mankind".  (and here's my favorite part) "In large towns and cities, where civilisation prevails, the number of those who own a shelter is a very small fraction of the whole."  Now, I am not suggesting that I wish to go live under an overpass, but the idea of the people actually owning anything being a ridiculous notion dates back centuries.  What I am trying to get at is that if we don't really own anything, why are we stressing ourselves out to keep up the credit rating on banks that are failing themselves.  My wife and I are having a continuing argument over a $26 bill.  I refuse to pay it, she says "they'll ruin our credit."  I respond that if we haven't done anything bad in 15 years, a $26 bil to a bunch of thieves in India isn't going to scare me.  We put up with a lot of shit, and it's time to say enough is enough.  I read Friday that Exxon has posted another year of record high profits, and today a story that banks are outsourcing to foreign counties.  They are all out to keep the American people in a sate of fear, working our little asses off so our credit score doesn't drop below 600, while the banks themselves have scores <100. 

So, where am I going with this?  I'm really not sure.  All I know is I don't train anyone anything unless it is to my advantage.   That no one knows what I really do, but they all know I get alot of work done.  One old story always comes to mind.  A company in Dallas was being taken over by a company in Conneticut.  The major item was controlled by a computer program writen in assembly code that was writen by two men that were about to loose their jobs.  They went in one night, and the program of 8500 lines of assembly code that controlled a big industrial machine, they erased all the documentation.  On line 4500, they wrote "Now here's the tricky part".

Good stuff, Wayne.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #56 on: March 02, 2009, 10:40:33 AM »
Thanks, APK.

To continue the "proclamation/rant".  We paid the $26 anyway, and they still threatened to turn it over to a collection agency.  My wife blew her stack and called them.  They apologized and told us it was taken care of.  I'll bet we still get a notice from a collection agency.  BTW, the company is AOL. So today I read that AIG Life is asking for another bailout.  I guess they're gearing up for a spring trip to Lake Tahoe.  I had an interesting question this weekend sitting at a McDonalds (what a meal: Big Mac, fries, Coke, chocolate sundae and a cappucino!), anyway, the question was "Do you ever notice that the people who make the lowest wages have to wear uniforms?"  Is it because we are pushing conformity, or are living in a society where we just don't want to accept that the people who are making our lunch may not be able to afford new clothes?  I mean, it's not like I was well dressed for Mickey D's.

So, I've been questioning alot of things lately.  All along the recession, economic downturn subject.  Why does the government of the State of Florida pay Bobby Bowden $1,000,000 a year?  Why don't they make pot legal and tax the sales?  Why don't the tax the high profit mega-churches?  I saw Arlo Guthrie Friday night in Gainesville and he made a great statement:  "Every time we put a new person in the government, they come up with a new law.  Why doesn't someone get in the government and start removing the old unnecessary laws?"  Great concert, BTW, Arlo is always entertaining.

On a personal note, Oenyaw no longer exists.  The albatros is flown.  I figured if Miley Cirus can ditch the Hannah Montana character, Wayne Higgins can kill Oenyaw.  As a friend and old band mate said, "good to see you're out of the closet.  I don't know why you picked an alias, anyway."  Hell, I dunno either.  I'm just glad I never paid to print any discs with the Oenyaw name. 
So, I'm a "Sr Member", huh?  In June it's SENIOR DISCOUNT TIME!!!
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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #57 on: March 25, 2009, 06:08:18 PM »
Still looking. resubmitted to 2 places after not hearing anything and seeing the jobs posted again. Talked to a new recruiter at a place I was going through (one of a handful) as the guy I dealt with left. So now getting recommendations via linkedin site from more current co-workers to add to the package she'd send to prospects. I also told her no boston/cambridge/128 area if at all possible, focus on 495 area and southern NH preferably. We'll see. At least UI money has been coming in, nice to get 5 wks in one day. I had to send my separation letter to UEmployment so she could process my claim, next day 5 checks deposited = made me feel better after no money for ~5+ wks.

Mike

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2009, 11:08:45 PM »
Hang in there, Mike.  I've been looking for more steady legal work recently, and the market for it in the Bay Area has been downright ugly.  I was very close to being offered a full-time position, but the position was pulled at the last minute when they crunched the numbers and decided to pull the position.

Forrest

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Re: Layoffs, downsizing, retrenchment, whatever you call it
« Reply #59 on: March 26, 2009, 01:37:06 PM »
Good luck to both of you (Mike and Forrest), and to anyone else looking. I know how discouraging looking for a job can be. It can happen to any of us at any time. We were just informed that there would be no raises this year. At least we still have our jobs, for now.    Harry
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