Reverse Darwinism in Profressional Services

This started off as a comment to “A bail-out for little-old me?” But on careful consideration I think the subject warranted a post of it’s own.

If a company is experiencing a slow-down in sales, especially PS work suffers.  (Companies still need to buy the storage, but may be more likely to handle more of the installation/configuration themselves to save money) So what ends up happening is that the field-engineers will find themselves short on work first.

Most companies are loathe to give up their sales staff too early, simply because the only way they’re going to stay in business is to continue to try to sell.  They all think that when they book more work they can always re-hire their engineers.

Here is the problem with this theory – they act like we’re just sitting around on our thumbs waiting for their business to pick up.

No, we’re out hustling new work, and the smarter/better / more well known of us are getting new jobs, despite the down-turn.  So when their business DOES finally turn around (and it will, eventually) they’ll find the best and the brightest have locked in new engagements, and the ones that they have to choose from are the ones that haven’t found new work for a reason.

It’s reverse-Darwinism at work.  The company is forced to hire from what amounts to the bottom 50% of the people they laid off two or three months earlier.  They may save a few bucks, but their customer satisfaction numbers go through the floor.  I’ve been hearing customer-service complaint stories throughout this downturn, and they’ve gotten quite a lot louder in the past 6-8 weeks.

When the stockholders, most of whom couldn’t navigate their E-Trade account without help, start making technical decisions for a technical company, the end of the road is not far away.

Now I fully understand a company laying people off to keep from going under, but that’s what it should be.  A last ditch effort.

If you as a company are laying people off to protect profit margins and dividend payments, you are RESPONOSIBLE for the financial crisis we find ourselves in.

Mind you – I’m not targeting any particular organization with this story.  I’m sure Every Major Corporation has this problem.

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