I worked in corporate for many years and as such learned to dread this time of year. Why, because in three months you will likely LOSE YOUR JOB.
As the late great Jerry Garcia once said: “When you reach that point where everything you do is coming together and everything is working out, watch out, because that’s a sign that everything is about to go very bad, very fast.”
I love the holidays, I’m no Grinch but life experiences teach us when to embrace life and all the good things in it and when to batten down the hatches and CYA.
That last part is right around the corner so here’s what you need to know.
Now, everything is great. People have jobs, money is coming in, the economy is improving and by jiminy, it looks like things will work out after all.
No, it won’t. Here’s why.
The holiday’s end. February shows up with a handful of bills that are due NOW. The holiday sales help is being laid off, even though they showed loyalty, hard work and real talent.
And nobody’s buying because all the money is spent.
And here is why your job, whether it is in a middle management office or on the warehouse floor is in serious jeopardy.
The sales department has sales goals that MUST be met regardless of the time of year or the economy. Since nobody is buying, they become creative. Have to move things around, have to offer deals that fly in the face of fiscal responsibility, have to go for the hail mary pass. The problem is that everyone remembers the very few times the hail mary pass succeeds; they tend to forget how often the hail mary pass fails.
So the sales force makes all kinds of promises to customers. No payment for 90 days (terms are net 30) 90 day return policy (all sales final) outlandish promises of ridiculously high credit lines.
That last one is the job killer.
I was in corporate credit and following the holidays I was in constant battle with the sales department who were pushing huge sales to little mom and pop stores that clearly couldn’t afford it. So I would deny those lines and instead set them up with a credit line they could handle and over time increase as their business grew.
But that meant that the sales department wouldn’t make their goals. That made them desperate. So they went on the attack. Claimed I was costing the company money by my draconian credit limits, said my people were verbally abusing companies who were ‘just a little behind on their payments,’ and that we were going to lose business because our competitors were going to swoop in and make big sales to the customers I was so arrogantly assigning small credit lines to.
So I was called down and placed on the hot seat. I was accused of being arrogant to our customers, rude to their accounts payable departments, obstructing company growth and of being short-sighted regarding sales potential. As usual I asked for examples of these complaints, perhaps an email could be provided, maybe a regular letter or one of those phone calls that was regularly ‘monitored to assure customer satisfaction’. Or perhaps I could meet with the sales person accusing my department of these issues so he could point out exactly what customers he was referring to.
Strangely, evidence of my department’s improper conduct always somehow managed to be misplaced.
Now here is where the train derails. I was in credit for 25 years. Give me a 10 minute conversation with any potential customer and I can tell you EXACTLY how much, if any, credit they should have. I did my ‘do diligence’ of checking with their other vendors, credit reports and banks but I was very, very rarely off the mark.
Point being, over the years I had become very good at my job. Yet every year, the VP or the CFO or the comptroller (none of whom had ANY hands –on credit experience) would overrule me and the product would be shipped and come March when all those invoices were past due I’d be called down and told to explain why I wasn’t doing my job.
So each year with my job hanging by a thread I’d go in and attempt to clean up the mess the sales department created. During that time however, there’d be lay-offs in all departments due to the fiscal bath corporate greed had created.
Beware the Ides of March my friends. That’s when the ‘Musical Chairs’ game of downsizing begins and the upper management team starts questioning your value to the company. So the question you need to ask yourself is “What skill do I possess that my co-workers don’t? What skill is valuable to management, valuable enough for me to survival the March lay-offs?
That skill is HTML coding. Why? Because it’s what is used for web design & internet sales which is the wave of the future, just ask Amazon. If you started learning HTML this coming Monday by March you could be a professional.
In this Saturday’s Underground College’s newsletter I’m going to present a link to an entire video tutorial program that teaches every aspect of HTML from absolute beginner to HTML professional. It has 711 five star reviews.
And it’s FREE. But only for those who go to the top right of this page and sign up.
So it’s up to you. You can learn a new skill that will seriously increase your marketplace value or take your chances in March when the lay-offs they swore wouldn’t happen, begin.