Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Keep your job in a downturn
You might first think of the approach that many people use at annual review time: Ask your boss for a meeting in which you quantify all your fabulous accomplishments over the past year. But that isn't likely to have much effect right now, in part because very few people's bottom-line results have been particularly fabulous lately.
Praising your boss's new suit/PowerPoint presentation/visionary ideas is fine, but it probably isn't going to stop the ax either. In a downturn you need to speak the language that matters most: dollars and cents.
Employers looking to cut personnel costs can either lay people off or lower their wages. Though there are exceptions, employers are generally more willing to do the former.
Truman Bewley, a professor of economics at Yale University, has shown that's because they fear low worker morale and even sabotage. Basically, they don't want unhappy people around who may cause trouble.
So if your job really is in danger (and you'd rather have less money than no money) you need to address that fear head-on. Let the big guy know you're willing to work, contentedly and productively, at a lower wage than you currently receive.
Exceptions of this case might be the lower pay for CEOs and high-level executives. The most famous example is Lee Iacocca, who took a $1 salary. But his action was voluntary and it showed the public that he believed that Chrysler could be profitable.
2. offer performance-based incentives to workers even after lowering their wages to ensure that will continue to work as hard or harder than previously. In this way you could both decrease operating costs and improve efficiency.
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