To many of us a job is important. You want a job to have money to help you live a purposeful life. However, for many that life, the American dream, is becoming less of a reality and more beyond reach. This informative graph from Esquire Magazine breaks down some interesting details regarding wealth of the young versus old.
In honor of Valentines Day, let’s talk about money!!! Because I know you are spending some ;o)
In 1913 the United States Constitution put into place the very first nationwide income tax. This was the year of the first 1040. It was implemented to those who made at least $3000 a year. Given the fact that the average salary of the American worker was $800, equal to $18,176.89 today, compensation and taxes have changed over the years with layers being added.
The following short video is an interesting perspective into the history of where we were and where we are in terms of occupations, taxes and salary.
Click here if you are having trouble viewing the video
Reprint from 2010
So about the title… umm you just got laid off, through no fault of your own. It can be difficult to sit on the other end of a desk. The supervisor or person who you feel might as well be holding a gun to your head to keep you from reaching over and slapping them for saying, “this is nothing personal.” Well guess what, they are wrong. While dissolving of a position or reduction of workforce may be a business decision, it is very personal, for the people giving the news and the individual receiving it. It is easy to list a few of the many disadvantages; the packing of personal or company items (for you thieves) with or without security, the walk to the car, the oh so long drive on the way home to think about what has just happened, the breaking of news to the family and then the subtle but daunting task of searching for a new position.
So what could possibly be the benefit that comes from losing, for what many of us is, our only source of income? What great things could be hidden in this process for the HR person delivering the news? Few would agree that there are any benefits, yet believe it or not there are. There are even more benefits now then there were even a few years ago. Having a good breakfast and calling other unemployed friends are not among the reasons I am discussing, although pretty damn good and funny!
- It’s a chance for HR to make the company look Humane. Being in the room for a lay-off with the manager and employee is not something any of us wants to be apart of often but it is one task that can come with the job. You have a chance to show what gratitude there may be for the employees service and help in retaining the brand of your company. The last thing you want is for the person to have a bad experience, echo it out to the world through twitter and the blogosphere and set you up as a bad guy, ultimately leaving a bad impression on any future candidate that you want to hire for that same position after the righteous company comeback (did I just say “that same position” oops). We, HR, can be perceived as the good people for a change!
- Performance issues. Have to be careful here but, let’s face it, not all supervisors do a good job in effectively giving performance reviews. The good and bad is not always outlined. But regardless of who is at fault, if there were issues with the employee/employer relationship, reduction in workforce is an easier argument to have and a much quicker conversation. Especially in this economy.
- More quiet time. Fewer employees mean fewer grievances, reduced visits to your office and request for the “private talk” about ones supervisor and/or boss. OK, this is not really a good argument, but you have all thought about it haven’t you? Why be afraid, admit it.
For the Unemployed:
- Family Time. The maximum benefit would be the time you spend with your family and friends. You can become even closer with the extra time you are spending together. Let’s face it, your kids, significant other and people who are most important to you will never say, “Dang you should have spent more time at work.”
- Regenerate/Reflection. If you are like me, there is never enough time in the day. If you are currently not working, you often feel like you have more work to do then you did when you were working. In this time away, you can now take the time to get to know another side of yourself that you have not experienced in awhile. You take the time to discover what that side is.
- Reevaluate life and career goals. Why Not Re-Evaluate Your Career Path Choices? Nuff said.
- Unemployment Benefits. No longer are there long lines at the unemployment office. The unemployed can now handle everything online (that is if they can still afford internet access). Don’t quote me but the max you can receive on an unemployment claim is around $452, given you make more than $900, give or take. There has been talk of an added benefit under the new administration prolonging benefits for an added 13 months as well as an increase in benefits for up to $25 to those who qualify. You scoff, “Ooh a whole $25 extra.” Yeah you are laughing now but an extra $25 can go a long way in tough times.
- Retraining. Yes, if you need an upgrade in certifications, knowledge or skills; there is potential to receive added funds. Only to those who quality and ask.
- Other possible benefits: Refinance or Modification of a Mortgage Loan (check with your bank), Return the school, etc.
- Excuses to be cheap. When people ask for change, asking to cover the tab, or donations; you actually have a good excuse to be cheap!
This is a simple and brief list. Some of these were meant to help you laugh to keep from crying but there are real ways to deal and even recover from reduction in force. While difficult, a lay-off can end up being the bridge between the move from a potentially bad situation to better one, for both the employee and/or the employer.