Terrible Times Here…People’s Jobs Axed!…How To Cope?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc plans to shed about 10 percent of its global workforce, a person familiar with the matter said Friday, as the bank tries to return to profitability and faces mounting criticism of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit.

The cuts could result in a loss of roughly 35,000 jobs, based on the bank’s reported 352,000-person workforce as of Sept 30. The cuts will be on top of the 23,000 jobs Citigroup has already slashed this year.

Last Friday, DBS said it will cut 900 jobs, mostly in its Singapore and Hong Kong units.

MACAU – UP TO 11,000 construction workers are to lose their jobs as US gaming giant Las Vegas Sands delays a huge development in gambling haven Macau, the head of Las Vegas Sands Asia said on Thursday.

LONDON – BRITISH telecoms operator BT Group said on Thursday its second-quarter net profit jumped 18 per cent but that it would cut 10,000 jobs by March 2009, mostly in Britain.

NEW YORK – MORGAN Stanley on Wednesday outlined plans to cut 10 per cent of staff in its biggest business, which covers everything from investment banking to stock trading.

SINGTEL has started slashing costs, including slapping on a hiring freeze last month, to help it ride out the slump, but it said that layoffs will be a ‘last resort’.
Group chief executive Chua Sock Koong told a results briefing yesterday that the ‘unprecedented’ global financial crisis will have a ‘negative impact on businesses’, including the telco.
Ms Chua said SingTel has ‘implemented a hiring freeze and we’re looking at discretionary expense items, how they can be better managed’.
The region’s largest telco will also examine other measures like redeploying staff to do other roles, not replacing staff who quit, and adjusting its variable bonus payout for employees.
While Ms Chua did not rule out retrenchments, she said they would be a ‘last resort’. SingTel, which employs over 11,000 people here, declined to say when it last laid off Singapore staff.
Last month, it said it would cut 115 jobs from its Australian unit Optus, which employed 10,700 people. Optus imposed a hiring freeze in June.

How To Overcome A Sudden Job Loss


For the past several years, I’ve worked for New Jersey’s Department of Labor in Trenton, also known as the unemployment office. I certainly never thought I’d wind up here, but I’ve since realized that career paths don’t always work out the way we’ve planned.

During my tenure here, I’ve spoken one-on-one to thousands of unemployed people. In most cases, my meetings are during each person’s eligibility review interview (ERI), when it’s my responsibility to verify their claims and make sure they’re doing everything necessary to remain eligible to receive unemployment checks.


In the beginning, there was an interview form I adhered to that covered such topics as how to look for work, deciding what kind of work you’re best suited for and how far you’re willing to travel. It was canned, cold and impersonal. As time passed, I discovered I had a lot in common with the group I’ll call “first-timers.” You see, I was unemployed before joining the state workforce, having owned my own business, a shoe store, for more than 20 years. When it closed, I was completely lost and had no idea how to get through each day, much less find a job. I had no energy or self-esteem, and I felt unwanted and scared to death.

How ironic it was to eventually land a new job—through networking with friends—in which I spend each day hearing about the pain I’d felt myself only months before.

As I grew more comfortable in my role as an interviewer, I’d occasionally ask “How are you feeling?” or “How do you spend your time?” Once candidates sensed that I was genuinely interested in their feelings, they often broke down and cried. I was able to hit a nerve and what I heard was revealing. They were hurting and disoriented. They were someplace they’d never been before, yet were expected to fall into place and accept their plight. The more I listened, the more I varied from the cold, insensitive questioning the state expected from me.

Many candidates seem almost paralyzed when they lose jobs for the first time, and tend to set themselves up for rejection and major disappointments. One of the first faculties layoff victims lose is their ability to deduce. They can no longer figure out how to get things done, such as get in touch with certain people. Yet, this inability really isn’t your fault. You just don’t know how to react otherwise.

For example, one of the major problems job hunters face is eliciting responses after sending out lots of resumes. I sent 30 or 40 a month for three months, and received four responses. Every day I hear candidates say, “Don’t hiring managers realize how important it is for me to hear from them?” and “Can’t they at least acknowledge that my resume arrived?”

Think of the situation this way: What if you were traveling a road you’d known for years and one day, on your way to an important meeting, found yourself behind several hundred cars in a traffic jam caused by a parade? Knowing you had no time to spare, would you sit and wait? No way! You’d get off the main drag and take side streets to reach your destination. It’s an automatic response. The problem with job hunters is that they usually can’t see the traffic jam of candidates who also are sending resumes for the same positions they want. They’ve lost the ability to deduce.

Your goal is to get to decision-makers. But losing a job can make you numb, you may be following orders without understanding why you aren’t getting results. After several months, it’s easy to feel as though nobody wants you. After all, simple mathematics shows that earning five responses after sending 100 resumes is a 95% rejection rate. That’s when I hear comments like, “They don’t want me” and “My resume is so bad they won’t even acknowledge it.”

Small Victories

How can someone who was successful and well-adjusted just a few months earlier suddenly become a social outcast? The truth is, you weren’t rejected. Instead, your resume simply didn’t feature the key word or phrase that an entry-level personnel person was told to look for, so it landed in the round file. That’s not a personal rejection. It’s an unfair process that favors great resume writers over great potential employees.

The most important need when job hunting is an occasional victory. Of course, the biggest victory is a new job. But all you really need are lots of tiny wins that help today be better than yesterday and next week better than last week. We all have an invisible scale inside our heads that must be balanced in order for us to think and function normally. The day before becoming unemployed, that scale was evenly balanced, but as time passes and rejections pile up, one side starts weighing more than the other. Our thinking process gets thrown out of balance and we start making poor decisions. To bring your scale back to where it belongs, look for easy wins wherever you can find them.

Here’s a suggestion: Remember the hundreds of resumes you were planning to mail out? Don’t do it. Instead, use resumes only to answer ads, not to introduce yourself to others. Rather than fill the world with resumes, take time through personal and telephone networking to identify decision-makers, then send resumes only to them. You may reduce the number of resumes you mail to 12 next month from 100, but they’ll have much higher odds of being “hits.” You’ll have spent quality time researching the names of key decision-makers in your field, and you’ll create “wins” by earning interviews from the people most likely to help you.


Here’s another suggestion. Before picking up the phone to start calling, do the research necessary to make your calls worthwhile. Create a list of names of people you want to talk to directly. Whether it’s the vice president of research, the marketing director or someone you worked with on a project two years ago, know their correct name, title and company. Next, write down what you want to say. Your opening statement shouldn’t last more than 20 seconds, and it should be “up,” showing that you’re a positive person, not a pathetic, unwanted nuisance who’s begging for a job.

Remember, too, that the most important part of the conversation is what you say at the very end. Your goal is to help contacts help you without feeling threatened. A typical conversation might be: “Thanks, Bob, for taking the time to talk with me. I certainly understand that things are tight, but let me ask you this. Would you have any objection if I got back to you in 10 days to check in?”

They’ll agree to keep an eye out for you because you haven’t been confrontational or sounded desperate. Eventually, you’ll see that the fifth call is easier than the first call, and the 15th call easier than the 10th. You’re creating situations in which both sides of the scale are even again.

Try to imagine that a dear friend had come to you a year ago upset and hurting. He was unemployed and felt lousy. You likely would have sat that person down and given him a pep talk, wouldn’t you? And I’d bet that after talking with you for an hour, he would have walked away from the conversation feeling better than when it began. The problem is that we can do this for others, but we can’t do it for ourselves.

Therefore, try to remove yourself from your current situation. Get about six feet away to help this friend of yours (you) who’s unemployed and feeling bad. Help with decisions and offer solid advice.

There’s a little boy or girl in each of us that needs to be taken care of by the adult in each of us. Don’t let your inner child be set up for rejection. Don’t respond to blind newspaper ads that provide only a box number and replies never come, for example. Create a game plan and go over the pros and cons before taking action. Be the best babysitter in the world for the most important person in the world.

Playing by the Rules

It never ceases to amaze me that unemployed people have an unbelievable affinity for following instructions. Somehow they believe that we all must play by the “Marquis of Queensbury” rules and never hit below the belt or behind the neck. We mustn’t offend or anger anyone by not complying with so-called “acceptable behavior” when trying to get a job.

Yet, job hunting is war without bullets. We have to do what’s best for us any way we can. If your child was sick and needed a medical specialist, would you tolerate formalities when trying to reach that doctor? Would you become squeamish and defensive when hearing “nos” along the way? Would you pay attention to protocol or worry about offending someone? Of course not. But when it comes to looking out for our own careers, we hesitate and wallow in self-pity.

Instead, look for ways to improve your self-esteem. Start by listing 12 accomplishments you’re most proud of and that produced results. What strengths and skills did you use when doing them? Describe these abilities to others when interviewing to demonstrate what you can do for them.

Other ways to boost your self-confidence include:

Join and participate in a job-search support group. It’s always comforting to know that you’re not alone. Review the on this site for a club in your area.

Consider working as a consultant to get your foot in the door. This will allow you to explore new career areas.

When you network, don’t just talk with people you think might hire you. Talk with everyone you know, letting them know the kind of work you want to do. And always ask if they know anyone else you should talk with.

Remember that there’s no one else on the planet exactly like you, and that what you are and can contribute comes from you—not your job. You’re truly “one of a kind” and very special.

By creating itsy-bitsy wins every day, you’ll slowly gain back your confidence. You’ll no longer stare at the phone waiting for returned calls. You’ll stop rewriting your resume every time you fail to get a response. And you’ll no longer keep that imaginary score of resumes sent versus responses received or allow each passing day to confirm your conclusion that you don’t have what companies want.

Unemployment is a new neighborhood that most of us view as very unfriendly. You’re not supposed to know all the street names or how to get from here to there right away. It takes time and patience to learn your way. There’s no stigma attached to being new to the neighborhood. But if you were given a personal guide to your new neighborhood, wouldn’t that make your transition easier? So why not become your own guide, confidant, translator and babysitter? After all, who’s more qualified for the job than you?


The Best “You” Ever: Overcome Adversity
and Live Your Dreams

By Valerie Greene

While no one expects adversity or enjoys experiencing it, the fact is that challenges are a normal part of life. From a job loss to a divorce, a health challenge to a natural disaster, adversity comes in many different shapes and sizes. However, it is not the actual situation that causes people turmoil; rather, it is the way we react to the adversity that makes the situation stressful. Consider this: Two people working in the same department with similar education levels and skill sets get laid off from their job on the same day. One moans and groans about how unfair life is, worries how he’ll pay the bills, feels like a failure, and is forced to settle for a new job that pays less. The other believes that “things happen” in business and doesn’t take the job loss personally. He knows he’ll find an even better job that pays more…and he does.

You may wonder how two similar people facing the same adversity can have completely different outcomes. In reality, their outcomes were the same. That is, they both believed a certain outlook on life, and that outlook became their reality. So if you think of an adversity as something negative to be feared, then you’ll create a negative experience. However, if you view an adversity as a time for change and rebirth, then that’s exactly what you’ll enjoy.

Unfortunately, the majority of people fear adversity because they’ve heard messages their entire life of how difficult challenges can be: a job loss might lead to financial ruin, a divorce might leave you lonely and bitter, a negative health diagnosis could make you weak and feeble. Realize that you don’t have to buy into these negative messages. You can decide what you want your outcome to be. How? Use the following tips to guide you:

1. Erase the negative programming: Don’t let anyone else’s experience influence your current situation. If you hear other people’s “war stories” of how awful a job loss is, for example, then you’re likely to think the same thing will happen to you. And if you constantly tell yourself, “I’m not going to get through this,” then you won’t. That’s why you need to stop those negative messages as soon as they start.

Be like a courtroom judge. When the judge hears someone on the stand say something that’s pure conjecture during testimony, she tells the stenographer to “strike that statement from the record,” and then tells the jurors to “disregard what the witness just said.” You need to do the same thing to yourself.  When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, cancel that statement. Give yourself the same power you give everyone else—the power to influence your thoughts and create your outcome.

2. See yourself beyond the adversity, successful and happy: Napoleon Hill said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” His words are so true. When you’re in the midst of an adversity, envision where you want to be, even if your vision seems unrealistic. See yourself beyond the challenge. When most people are in the middle of an adversity, they only see themselves as they are during that set point in time—in the middle of their challenge. That is, they see themselves as unemployed, as sick, as divorced, etc. But you need to look beyond that to what you want to achieve.

Realize that whatever situation you’re in is temporary and it will pass, no matter how bad it may seem. When you envision what’s possible, you quickly discover that adversity actually propels you to move to the next level. It’s a catalyst for change that allows you to re-invent yourself or your life circumstances. Adversity prepares you for something better.  

3. Surround yourself with visuals of your dreams: In order to keep your mindset positive so you can envision your desired outcome, cut out pictures and phrases of what you want or of how you want your life to be. Post those pictures and phrases in a prominent place so you can see them every day. Despite the usual advice of “get over it and move on,” overcoming adversity involves making the situation pass. The old saying of “This too shall pass” should really read: “This too shall pass…if you let it.” You let situations pass by being proactive during them and working towards a goal you can actually see.

The pictures you post can be of anything meaningful to you. For example, if you’ve been told you’ll never walk again, you may post pictures of people running marathons or of the dream car you want to own and drive. If you lost your job, you may use images of successful working people to guide you. If you just got divorced, photos of happily married couples could prompt you to finally find Mr. or Ms. Right. Decide what images you find motivational and inspirational and use them to see you through any trying times.

4. Decide to change your outcome from ordinary to extraordinary: Why be average or mediocre when you can be spectacular? Most people don’t know what is really possible. They don’t realize that they have the power to change their life. So when a doctor gives a bad prognosis, or when an employer enforces a salary cap, they accept the circumstance as “just the way it is.” In reality, you can always do better.

Go beyond what the normal or average is. If you don’t like the situation you’re in or the prognosis you’ve been given, don’t buy into the belief that you can’t change it. We all have the power to overcome adversity and find ourselves in the middle of something extraordinary. We simply must decide to believe we can.

Your Future Awaits: Adversity is part of life. The key is not to get hung up in it. No matter what life challenge you’re currently facing, realize that you possess the power to overcome it. Granted, sometimes it takes what seems like a long time to discover that power and implement it, but once you do, anything is possible. So go ahead …push through the fear, spark the flame of greatness that’s deep inside yourself, and never allow anything or anyone to extinguish your fire within. 


Job loss—whether it’s sudden or expected—is one of life’s most traumatic events.

Take time to recognize your loss. At the same time, start with the actions below to help find a new job:

1)Network early. As soon as you anticipate a layoff, ramp up your efforts. Having an active network will really pay off during and after a job loss. Tell everyone about your situation and ask for advice and referrals. Schedule informational interviews.

2)Assess yourself and any potential career change – make sure you really know what your transferable skills are and which ones you really want (and don’t want) to use in the next job.

3)Locate your local One-Stop Career Center to find out what kinds of services you may be eligible for.

4)Update your resume. As you work, think about past accomplishments, work tasks you enjoyed and those you’d like to avoid in a next job. Collect materials to update your portfolio as well.

5)Dive into your job search.

4 Responses

  1. Sounds like a good time for some job sites –

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches jobs based on your skills)

    Good look to those looking for work!

  2. Thanks for your contribution Matt…cheers 🙂

  3. The power of your mind can attract to you the job or work that you desire, provided of course that you have the proper qualifications. Having a job or being unemployed is dependent on the thoughts you think. If you believe that you cannot get a job or one that you like, then this is exactly what happens.

    • Well that is certainly one way to look at it, thanks for sharing mate! 🙂

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