Sunday, June 07, 2009

The economy continues to suck for workers!

A reader left a comment on my blog post "A One Word Explanation" offering their own word to describe the economy: “sucks!” I must say after a particularly dismal couple of months, I have to agree the economy does suck, especially for workers. Just about everyone I know myself included has been affected by this recession:

-Heard at my niece’s college graduation party: only 25% of college graduates have job offers (actually 25% is too high, Alison Green of Ask a Manager linked to this article the other day, showing that only 19% of recent grads have found work so far). One partygoer, a grad majoring in computer engineering, had a job offer only to have it rescinded when the company announced it was to be sold. Another grad, an accounting major, had the start date for her new job at an accounting firm postponed from September 1st to January 1st of next year.

- Neighbors and friends have lost their jobs. Amidst struggles to make ends meet, at least one of the several homes in my neighborhood that have gone up for sale is due to a job loss.

- The company I work for had a horrific April. Rumor has it our bank threatened not to renew our line of credit unless major expense cutting took place. Effective June 1st, five employees were laid-off, all exempt employees including myself received an 8% salary reduction, hours were reduced for most non-exempt employees, employee's share of health insurance premiums were increased along with deductibles and out of pocket expenses and the 401(k) company match was suspended. My company anticipates these cuts will remain in effect for at least one year.

- The same week my company announced cutbacks, my husband received a notice from his employer that his 401(k) company match would be suspended effective June 1st.

-Feeling an 8% salary reduction was a little steep; I decided to take action and look for a new job. I spent close to two hours applying for one job opening I found on career builder. I was positive I was a perfect fit. Unfortunately, I received a rejection notice via email first thing the next morning. This was the fastest job rejection I have ever received and the first rejection notice I’ve received via email.

-A friend who owns his own business has also been forced to reduce his employee's wages. He currently has two job openings, but refuses to pay candidates more than what his loyal employees make. He tells potential candidates he can only pay them what the market will bear.

According to Sudeep Reddy in her article in the Wall Street Journal, "A turnaround in the overall economy won't translate into a full turnaround for workers. Most forecasters expect employers to slash more jobs than they're adding at least through the end of the year. The huge job losses may end, but they won't turn into meaningful job gains until sometime in 2010."

How are employees coping? This is what I'm hearing from my co-workers around the water cooler:

I’m not going to make any major purchases I may regret later. There are fears the cuts our company made were not deep enough and additional cuts will be made in the future.

I’m okay with doing Susie’s job in addition to my own because I’m happy to still have a job, but I do plan on asking for a new promotional title that incorporates my new responsibilities. A promotion will look good on my resume.

My boss admits the company decided on salary reductions for exempt employees instead of time-off without pay to prevent employees from using the additional time off to look for a new job. Most employees are at least talking about looking for a new job.

While filling out on-line applications one employee realized she needs Microsoft Access experience. She’s planning on taking a class and incorporating what she learns into her current job.

We need to beef up our networking. The latest networking tool everyone us getting involved with is LinkedIn. Let's check it out on our lunch hour.

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours." ~Harry S. Truman


  1. My company has decided to cut costs by not running the air this summer (now that sucks!), mandatory furloughs (which I don't mind a bit) and each worker doing more than what their original job entailed. But hey, at least I have a job, right?
    This same company had 20 job openings last month and got over 800 applications. I would hate to be looking for a job right now.

  2. You know, I agree, in fact I think it sucks more for workers than for retired people.

    The thing is, in our retirement we have adjusted our spending downward, to the tune of only 75% of what we spent the year before I retired. But the thing is, it totally feels worth it. Because I own all my time, the cutbacks don't feel like I'm giving up much.

    But a cut in pay while you are working (or a cut in other benefits) just adds insult to injury. The money is supposed to compensate you for the fact that you don't have control over all your time, getting to do whatever you want whenever you want. So they pay you money, and you use it to make other parts of your life easier or more enjoyable to compensate for what you are giving up.

    So the cutbacks feel worse, I think, because you are giving up even MORE and gain nothing. (Although, for those that still must work for financial reasons, I suppose it beats the alternative! I can see that not really making it easier to take, though.)