The New Abnormal

On one hand, I’m understandably jealous of those among you who are still working. Knowing there’s a regular paycheck coming in can help relieve a lot of stress (even if it’s a smaller check than it used to be). On the other hand, now that the axe has fallen, the hammer dropped, or whatever cliche applies, that’s one less thing I have to worry about. That is, it’s already happened, I don’t have to worry about losing a job that’s already gone.

Even though thousands of people have lost their jobs due to layoffs, a lot of organizations are making an effort to find ways to hold onto people. I’ve been catching up on my reading lately, and noticed a piece in Time from a couple of weeks ago.  “When Companies Opt for Pay Cuts Instead of Layoffs,” looks at that effort… and its potential drawbacks.

You’re still working, but for less money. And most of us manage to live in a way that accounted for every penny we made before any pay cuts. And that’s part of that “on the other hand” thing. It’s great if pay cuts can protect employees from layoffs, but what if the economy continues to tank and job cuts become a better option than pay cuts?

Once the former co-workers are gone, many of the people with jobs have something else waiting for them at the office, the plant, the store or wherever. Fear.  The fear that a first wave of workforce reductions will be followed by another.

That’s enough of a fear that people don’t spend money like they use to, which means we’ll have to find something else to compare to drunken sailors. Hopefully, people are actually using the money they’re not spending to pay off their bills and put a little away – just in case. I had actually paid down two of my three credit cards… only to replace those manageable debts with this huge honking mortgage I’m stuck with!!

I’ve still been investing in the Powerball retirement plan. If I don’t win, I can always console myself with the notion that I’m helping to fund education by buying the tickets.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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2 Responses to The New Abnormal

  1. With each passing day I wonder whether being fired/laid off would be such a bad thing. This is coming from someone who’s been fired and has voluntarily escpaed from a couple of other plantations….one of your former ones, Doug. (It was CLEAR-ly not a NEWS room…more like an insane asylum)

    The current paycheck is nice…actually it’s not…but the point is that the money is coming at a price I’m increasingly unwilling to pay. Unfortunately, not really good at anything else but media, so I too am holding out until my Megamillions retirement plan kicks in.

    • Doug Johnson says:

      Believe me, I know how good it felt to escape the “clear.” And I was just telling someone today that it’s tough to get away from doing what you know how to do…
      And believe me, Megamillions treated me just as badly as Powerball is treating me now!

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