Friday, October 17, 2008

Layoff creepers

Bob Sutton, the author of the No Asshole Rule, has a thought-provoking post on his blog about the quality of the workers who will lose their jobs if layoffs occur. Do the innovators get the pink slip--and the slackers, possibly by virtue of tenure, get to stay?

This is not to say that new workers are the brightest apples in the bushel, but that sometimes layoffs mean that organizations lose quality workers--and probably the people that they could least afford to lose in a crisis. Sutton makes a good argument for the timing of layoffs and how, if you must layoff, to give workers enough of a lead to know what will happen, so they can resort to plan B. In addition, he also mentions companies, like Toyota, that invest in training and skills development during a downturn. Remember, he advises, recruiting and training replacement staff, on the upswing, is as significant a cost as keeping workers through the downswing.

But it probably earns more goodwill to retain than to let them funnel down the layoff drain.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And how will you be paying for this?

According to this article from American Libraries, the stock market collapse will have consequences for many libraries that rely on endowments for funding, which means cuts to library hours, as well as, library staff. This could mean layoffs--but it could also mean decreased hiring in the coming year. It could also mean keep the people but fewer books and licenses, so don't despair about job offers yet.

One thing you can do is some research to figure out how your prospective employers are funded. The American Library Association has a section on their site dedicated to library funding, and Library Journal also offers a roll of articles about library funding from their pages. The state or provincial library site should have information about how the libraries within that area are funded (state name + library in Google should get you these websites).

So don't lose your nuggets over the news, but do a dig into the money sources of your prospects. This should also be part of your basic employer research that you take to an interview.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tech Therapy compares librarians to IT staff on campuses

According to this Tech Therapy podcast, librarians and IT staff on academic campuses have lots of commonalities, but they can't seem to get together to help one another. Forced collaborations, rather than voluntary project sharing, appears to be the big difference between these two groups.

They are looking for people from both departments to comment on their premise that librarians and IT can't seem to get along, and so far, not many comments (yes, some libraries call their patrons "users", some call them "clients" or "customers", others use "students"; it depends on the library), which I hope doesn't mean that librarians and IT personnel believe there is no way we can get along.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The meltdown and the bailout

The meltdown and the bailout are examples of how macroeconomics--large scale economics--can affect a person's microeconomics, your own little-big life and budget. But what the heck is going on?

What a good question, and since I am not an economist--generally skeptical and willing to wait for a little historical perspective--I have a few resources that will help you make up your own mind: