Boomers — Corporate Downsizing (The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy)

We should have seen it coming.  We remembered the growth years, when you couldn’t hire fast enough, and companies bent over backwards to soothe, coddle and ‘take-care-of’ their #1 asset - People.

Then, in a heartless-beat, everything changed.  The ‘think-out-of-the-box crowd’, and the ‘you-can’t-succeed-without-us consultants’, infiltrated and infected the treasure trove of our country – Corporate America.

Behind closed doors, in 'pull-down-the-shade' sessions, the conspiracy was launched.  The dogma was simple: “We can downsize our way to the promised land.”  And so, the game of ‘justify-your-existence’ was born.

First, they went after the Industry icons and champions; pushed ‘em out, golden parachute and all.  Didn’t they know that “once you cut the head off, the body slowly begins to rot”?

Then, they began the downsizing calisthenics. 

Choruses of “rank ‘em, stack ‘em, and trim-the-fat”, could be heard reverberating in imperfect harmony throughout the corporate gene pool.

Month-after-month, quarter-after-quarter, year-after-year, the hypnotic mantra was breathlessly whispered in boardrooms, hallways, and cubicles.  Downsizing became a way of life.  They got better and better at it, until it became a core competency.

It was survival mode, that’s for sure.  But the hard-learned lesson was that, “when you start eating the inmates, the other inmates actually notice" [not that they’d ever dream of biting the hand that bites them].

Did we downsize ourselves into recession?  Did we fulfill the self-fulfilling prophecy?  Are you next?  Is it 'Deja Doo-Doo' all over again?

It’s not too late.  What can you do?

Get rid of the consultants. [If given the opportunity, they will 'bill you out of existence'].

Put the ‘out-of-the-box thinkers’ out to pasture. [They must be exhausted by now].

Start hiring at a frantic pace. [That’ll confuse your competitors, and your customers will be delighted to have a real person to talk to again].

Upsize, upsize, upsize. [Let upsizing be its own self-fulfilling prophecy].

And remember - If you’re not going against the grain, you’re going in the wrong direction.

—Story by Bruce Bressack

2004 HippoPress LLC | Manchester, NH