Responses to Job Loss <debate> <long>

John McCreery (JLM@TWICS.COM)
Sat, 23 Mar 1996 13:55:53 +0900

Dear Friends,

First, thanks to all who have joined the "Response to Job
Loss" thread.

Special thanks to Ralph Holloway: Yes, the NY Times
material has arrived. The package sits unopened in a pile
of things to be done as part of sorting out the chaos
accumulated while I was off on a business trip last week.

Special thanks to Patricia Clay: Your forwarding the
message to the fisheries folk has already produced an
interesting comment from Israel.

Now, the holding-on syndrome that Judith Pine mentions.
I've been doing that myself since I heard a year and a half
ago that I would be ending my current relationship with
Hakuhodo. From my personal experience, I would add that
more may be at stake here than psychological clinging
(which is, in itself, very important). Nowadays, ceasing to
be an employee may still leave open many opportunities
to continue to work for a company in a freelance or
consulting capacity. There may be good strategic reasons
to broaden and strengthen networks inside the company
while there is still a chance to do so. Also, as my wife, who
as chairman of the board of Tokyo English Life Line has
just gone through replacing an executive director whose
ex-pat husband was transferred away from Japan, can
attest, the behavior that Judith describes is not sex-
specific. I think, however, that Judith may be on to
something when she contrasts her own definitions of a
good job with those of her blue collar friends. People
whose self-definitions depend on jobs with significant
managerial dimensions may, indeed, be more likely to
engage in this kind of behavior. That's something worth
looking into.

Holly Swyers' observation that generational differences
may be cultural differences is also important. It does
indeed seem plausible that the impact of job loss would be
more severe on those who've invested many years in what
they expect to be a stable situation as opposed to those
who expect to be moving on repeatedly. But here, too, we
are dealing with a complex situation. When white collar
workers in their 40s and 50s lose jobs it is often at a point
where economic demands (college educations, mortgages,
etc.) are peaking and their incomes were also supposed to
be peaking. There is also physical aging and the spectre of
rising medical costs to be dealt with. How younger people
who expect to change jobs frequently will deal with these
life-cycle issues is a very serious question indeed.

John McCreery
March 23, 1996