Layoffs, 1991 versus 2020
Since I recently wrote about the fact that I blog here, I guess I should actually blog here.
And I have a lot to blog about.
As I’ve noted elsewhere, I am now a free agent – because it sounds better to say “I am now a free agent” than to say “I was laid off in the middle a pandemic because fewer people are buying my (former) company’s services.”
I’ve been laid off before, but it’s been a while since I’ve been laid off. And things have changed dramatically.
During my last layoff in 1991, one of the first things that I did was to go to the Los Angeles Times and the brand new newspaper, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (which was the result of a 1990 merger between the Ontario Daily Report and the Pomona Progress-Bulletin). Both newspapers had classified ad sections, and the one in the Los Angeles Times was especially huge. I can’t remember all of the ads that I saw, but I do remember seeing one ad in the Los Angeles Time that caused me to go to my Macintosh computer, type a cover letter and a resume, print both on a dot matrix printer (actually, I may have pre-printed the resume at a Kinko’s), put both in an envelope, put a stamp on the envelope, and mail the letter to an address in Monterey Park. I got that particular job.
Things are a bit different today. I do have a better quality printer, but I’m not sure where we keep our stamps.
And there are other changes.
|Task||How we did it in 1991||How we did it in 2020|
|Finding out about jobs||Printed newspapers||LinkedIn, public and private job websites, company websites|
|Applying for jobs||Sending a letter through the mail, filling out a job application||Mostly through websites, some of which can convert PDF resumes into web form responses|
|Providing contact information||Street address or PO box, home phone number||Personal email account, “professional” email account, cell phone, Google Voice number, street address/PO box, or perhaps even a home phone number (if you still have a home phone)|
|Networking||Telephone, mail, group or personal gatherings||If a pandemic happens to be in full force, group or personal gatherings are out. However, you can still use “snail mail” or any variety of telephone or Google Voice-like phone line, or email, or LinkedIn, or many other social services (over the last three days I’ve also used Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, this blog, text messages and a webinar).|
|Researching a prospective employer||If you don’t already have contacts, or printed material on the company, you can always go to the library.||Libraries may be closed during a pandemic, but you’re not out of luck. For a starting point, I used a technique that I happened to use frequently in my old corporate strategy job, including visits to the company website; online services such as Bloomberg, Crunchbase, LinkedIn, and Owler; and articles and press releases about the company. These are easily found online today via services such as Google, which did not exist in 1991. (Heck, Yahoo did not exist in 1991. AOL for Windows did not exist in 1991.)|
Of course, a tool is not a way of life. Regardless of the tools you use or don’t use, you still have a goal of making a match between an employer who will value you while you value the employer.
And I don’t see that changing any time soon.