Words People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

“We appreciate your contributions, however your position has been eliminated”

Receiving this news, particularly when it comes as a surprise, can be devastating. The ranks of those who’ve felt the pain of forced “change” (translation: job-loss due to automation, outsourcing, acquisition, new leadership, re-organization, industry disruption, etc.), is growing at a tsunami-like pace. For years, a technology driven wave of forced “change” has been gaining momentum, especially in industries where inefficiencies are rampant and profitability can be dramatically increased by deploying new technology. A recent McKinsey study indicated that advancements in technology (AI, process automation) will result in 73 million US jobs being lost by 2030.

As tech-driven job-loss grows, how can people take greater control of their destiny?

  • Take steps to maximize your prospects for continuous employment: Stay “plugged-in”, know your “why”, develop new skills, network, build strong relationships. See below “Tips to Help Minimize…”.
  • Explore ways to become self-sufficient by: (a) generate income/wealth independently as a small business owner, or (b) develop specialized skills by studying online, attending night/weekend courses, obtain certifications, attend symposiums, apprentice with an expert). See below “Self-Sufficiency is the Antidote”… and “Tips to Help Minimize…”.

The Human ImpactWords People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

Forced “change” at work has a real human impact, not only on those whose job is being eliminated or changed but also on those who are left behind to pick-up the pieces, as well as everyone’s family members. Having experienced forced “change” firsthand, both delivering and receiving the news, I’ve heard well intention-ed folks encourage those in the vortex of “change” to see it as “opportunity”. That seems reasonable, but those directly impacted need some space and time to process, acknowledge loss, vent and be permitted to express themselves in a safe, non-judgmental setting. It might seem trivial, but listening and allowing someone to be heard, is sometimes all that’s needed.

Showing Compassion & Caring DeeplyWords People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

Sometimes forced “change” causes people to blame themselves. If upon self-reflection, they find that their sub-par performance contributed to their circumstance, then accepting accountability may be cathartic and appropriate. Being there in a person’s moment of despair, showing genuine compassion, will do more good and have a greater lasting effect than any advice/counsel we might wish to give in that moment of despair. Reaching a new state of normal takes time, a sufficient amount to allow for the purging of negativity and for the spark of renewal to ignite. The duration will vary based on a person’s EQ, desire, and support of family/friends. Professional coaches and outplacement services can help to accelerate the pace at which people return to a productive, healthy state of mind.

Workforce TransformationWords People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

Helping people overcome the disruption of forced “change”, and move-on productively, is vitally important – to the individual, company, and economy. The scale on which forced “change” will occur in the future, due specifically to AI/process automation, will be unprecedented. Taken together, the Fortune 500 and our government employs nearly a third of the US workforce. Given the sheer number of people who will be impacted, companies and the government have dedicated substantial resources to “workforce transformation” (changing the makeup and/or capabilities of a workforce). It’s good to see that large employers are committed to mitigating displacement & helping employees re-tool their skills so they remain relevant.

Crushing Impact on People Over 50Words People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

The latest US census reflects that 40M people over the age of 50 are in the workforce. According to University of Michigan (Health and Retirement Study), as many as 22M of those 40M people will lose their jobs involuntarily. The vast majority won’t find comparable jobs, nor earn close to what they made previously. There’s an increasing narrative (search google and news outlets for ageism) that this is the result of a growing incidence of “ageism”. The economics clearly give the nod to youth, who often have lower salary expectations, healthcare costs, are perceived as being more flexible and are seen as having greater “run-way” for growth. Hard data to prove this assertion is scarce, however talk with anyone age 50 plus, who’s in transition, and you will invariably hear ageism cited as a concern. This is undoubtedly a contributing factor as to why people age 50 to 59 are starting businesses in the US (source Guidant Financial) at a faster rate than any other age group.

Words People Never Want to Hear and How to Minimize Their Impact

Self-Sufficiency is the Antidote to Forced “Change”

Imagine if you had an income stream, that wasn’t subject to employer driven factors of “forced change”, that covered all your expenses (mortgage, rent, car, medical, food, vacation, college, etc.). That’s the position every sane person would like to be in, right? Millions of US citizens have done just that – some by becoming high paying professionals, others by saving/investing and amassing wealth over a long period of time, and others by becoming an entrepreneur and owning a small businesses.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone — some people prefer to work for others, don’t want the responsibilities and are uncomfortable taking entrepreneurial risk. That’s ok — steady saving, putting money to work wisely, and the compounding effect should yield a tidy sum.

For those who are inclined to exploring entrepreneurship, it starts with desire, which spurs research, the selection of an idea, validation of the concept, modeling/business planning, a decision/commitment to go-forward, an investment of money and time, and then hard work. Forgive the over-simplification, but you get the idea. While success is never guaranteed, certain business models are easier, safer, more predictable than others (think franchises).

Entrepreneurs start at all ages, with a wide range of investment levels. It’s never too late nor too early to begin. Interested in becoming an entrepreneur via franchising, find a franchise consultant you trust – they can save you time, money and boost prospects of success.

Tips to Help Minimize or Avoid The Impact of Forced “Change”

Know You’re “Why”: Have a clear understanding of what’s most important to you, your personal goals (short/long-term), assess if work fits your “why”, pursue happiness

Stay Plugged-in: Read, listen-to and understand your co.’s strategy, goals, executional plans, KPIs that measure success. Be aware how you contribute to goal achievement

Professional Growth: Invest in yourself, upgrade your skills, secure credentials that will help you remain relevant to your co./profession and position you for future opportunity

Develop Strong Relationships:

  • Within Your Co.: Connect to people at all levels, explore opportunities to collaborate across functions, create mentor relationships (for you, for others).
  • Outside Your Co.: Engage in professional/industry associations, connect with peers/leaders within industry to benchmark, share best practices

Build Bridges: With several generations active in today’s workforce, there’s a growing body of knowledge available to enhance inter-generational working relationships.

Explore New Opportunities: In alignment with your “why”, explore business(es), investments to supplement and/or replace/exceed your current income. When exploring any potential business, seek that perfect match — one that sparks your passion, aligns with your core values, leverages your experience, capabilities and financially justifies your means.

About the Author: 

Phil Harvey, founder of Prosperity Services, is an accomplished franchise professional, entrepreneur and trusted franchise advisor.  He consults with first-time, as well as serial entrepreneurs.  In addition to helping them find, evaluate and select the right franchise, Phil maximizes their prospects for success.  To learn more about Prosperity Services or Phil, visit his LinkedIn profile or  www.prosperitysvcs.com.

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