Some companies run like they are desperate, regardless of the reality. Although their bottom line may be fine, these companies operate with unrealistic profit expectations. This may occur while the company is undergoing a major transition. Perhaps there has been a major change in the industry. Perhaps there is new management. Perhaps there has just been a change in the incentive plan for top executives.
In any event, the focus suddenly becomes short-term profits above other goals. Employees are expected to work excessively long hours. Benefits are trimmed back. Sometimes employees are given incentives to exaggerate sales. Layoffs and reorganizations may be chronic. The company may outsource work to foreign employees and/or outside contractors.
Other signs that characterize companies with corporate cultures that stress short-term greed goals include:
- Managers become bean counters and bean-counting a pervasive corporate value;
- Older and long-term employees, especially those with large salaries or benefits, are treated poorly in the hopes of forcing them to quit;
- Employees who use benefits (i.e. those with significant medical problems or family members with significant medical problems) are treated poorly;
- Employee compensation is tied to unrealistic performance goals.
These companies are not nice places. You should consider finding other employment. Also, if you are a long-term employee, remember these types of companies are breeding places for Age Discrimination. Younger and new employees may well thrive in these companies, but long-term experienced employees are prone to sudden dismissals. Consider the following advice:
- Find another job.
- Accept the changes in the company. This is not the place it used to be and it’s not likely to ever change back. Either look for work elsewhere or if you really want to keep your job, accept that you may have to work harder for less money permanently. There will be no reward for past sacrifices, loyalty or dedication.
- To avoid being laid off, try to position yourself within the company to stay as close and as indispensable as you can to core revenue production. If you think the company considers you too highly paid, consider volunteering for a decrease. In any case, be careful about complaining about general work conditions. Be supportive of management regardless of how you feel.
- If you are an older employee, look out for evidence of age discrimination. Pay attention to comments from management such as, “We need fresh blood”; “We need energy”; “Only hire new graduates”; “We don’t want to hire someone with too much experience”; “The average age of our workplace is a problem;” “Our benefits are too expensive”; “We need to look at the potential for future development in our candidates for promotion (or in ranking for a potential RIF).” Network with other older employees who are being forced out, befriend them, find out if they feel they are being treated unfairly, and be sure to keep contact information after they leave the company. Pay attention to the ages and situations of the individuals being hired vs. those being rejected. Also pay attention to those individuals being retained and those being terminated.
- If you think you are being treated differently than other employees because of your age, consult an experienced employment attorney. Remember, knowledge never hurts and going to see an attorney and bringing a lawsuit are two different things. You can visit with an attorney and get helpful advice and your company may never be the wiser. This is not a do it yourself deal. You need to be very savvy and for this you need help. Don’t wait until you’re fired.
- If you are being treated badly because of taking legitimate medical leave, FMLA leave or vacation time, consult an experienced employment attorney. Don’t wait.
- Consider whether you may have an overtime issue. Employees may be classified wrongly as exempt to avoid being paid overtime. If you are not a management or professional employee, you are probably entitled to time and a half if you work over 40 hours a week. Consult your State Department of Labor or a private attorney.