With Cisco and Borders, 27,500 job eliminations announced today…Rut Row!

Currently, the number of unemployed persons (14.1 million) and the unemployment rate (9.2 percent) stand at an alarming position. Since March, 2011, the number of unemployed persons has increased
by 545,000, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.4 percentage point. The eligible labor force stands at 153.4 million potential.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (9.1 percent), adult women
(8.0 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (8.1 percent), blacks (16.2 percent), and Hispanics (11.6
percent) showed little or no change in June. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent, not seasonally

Statistic provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

What does all this mean given the announcement today that Cisco will be closing a plant and reducing their global workforce by 16% (6,500 Employees) and Borders will be liquidating leaving over 11,000 unemployed?

There are major and minor workforce reduction announcements almost daily. Why point out these two? First, the numbers are very significant as 27,500 will be fazed out of the workforce, but more importantly is the extremity of the types of workers.

On the Cisco end, many of the roles being eliminated are technology focused skilled labor with niche specialty systems, development and integration training. On the Borders side, most of the affected are hourly retail specialists. When we look at the age breakdown and the teenage unemployment numbers at nearly 25%, we have to factor in that Borders has relied on the use of younger book sellers to meet the customer needs at the individual store level.

Adding onto the dangers of this slap in the face of an already bruised global economy, is that several analysts believe this is not the end for Cisco. This round of layoffs and plant closing may be the start of more to come.

With the end of Borders on the horizon, are we seeing a trend in the print/brick and mortars market that will continue to decline as the online and digital print market comes further into its own? A valid question with significant evidence leading to technology destroying the written word. Then again if we read our history books carefully, the underdog, in many memorable moments, has risen to the occasion to declare victory.

If the David and Goliath theory should happen to fail us, we must rely on the oldest adage in all of humanity: Survival of the fittest. Yes, the truly strong will prevail. There are several truths that we must accept:

1. The world population will continue to grow.
2. Competition will force companies to drive down operations and overhead costs and thus lean workforces.
3. Specialization of skills and effective branding will be essential elements in our resume folder.
4. As an employee, we will continuously be challenged, observed and scrutinized for there are a great many waiting in the wings to take our slot.
5. The fittest in the employment world is a combination of many elements including but not limited to: academics, experience, technical skills, soft skills, networking, validation, growth/advancement, risk and visibility
6. Fear is good! We should look at each day of employment as if it could be our last and harness that fear to force us to excel.
7. Believe in the reward system. It does work. Strong work performance will be rewarded.

Where does that leave us? Very simple: Cisco and Borders announced 27,500 job eliminations today.

Just when I thought we were getting somewhere, the media has to bring us down.

Who is winning in this employment cluster fuck? Simple Apple, LinkedIn, Facebook, Zynga and a group of former Wall Street Executive Wizards that inhaled more money than Harry Potter.

There is hope. There is always hope. Without hope we would never have had the musical genius of Hanson or the Spice Girls and witnessed the rise of Earnest and Pee Wee. We live in a world where the unthinkable becomes a reality and the unimaginable is lived out on American Idol.

Chaos and sensationalism are being poured down our throats by the media and we are swallowing it up whole.
We need to this put our own lives in perspective and the bottom line is that it is just about perspective.

You are talented and skilled and have demonstrated the ability to be a great asset to the workforce.
We are in the low end of a cyclical life cycle. It will rise again and we will look back fondly on how this made us stronger.

Now as I conclude, I want to be clear that today’s news is troubling and it will have an adverse affect on thousands of individuals and families and it will have a ripple affect on others but, if you are in this situation or fear you will be soon, know there are tools out there to make you stronger.

There are not hard to find. Just ask. In times of need, it is remarkable how the generosity of others shine.

Let your fear out, but use it for good to find the heart to be a better you.


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