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April 13, 2020 Monday 08:36:10 PM IST

Covid-19: How to Retain Your Job When the Pandemic Gets Over?

Management lessons

The Covid-19 pandemic is going to have a devastating effect across industries whether it is manufacturing or services sectors such as IT, travel and tourism. Downsizing and layoffs are bound to happen. Millions of workers and employees face the prospect of losing their jobs or accept large cuts in salary. 
Depending on how long the lock down continues and the time taken for the economy to be back to normalcy, employees are much worried and concerned about retaining their jobs. How resilient are you in this troubled time to protect your job? It is quite natural that you feel important in your team, in your function and/or in your company. You have all the right to think that you are an indispensable part of the company, and that your team will not survive even a day without you. But remember this Chuck Noll quote: “Everyone's job is important, but no one is indispensable”.
Let’s look at another aspect. What is your latest, largest contribution to the company? Have you set up a function or a team all on your own? Have you delivered a large customer without any complaints for the last one year? Have you conceived a solution and developed it at the speed of light? Have you been leading a manufacturing function without any hiccups? Have you got a million dollar order all on your own, against all odds? Nothing matters.
All these can be done by another smart guy when things get back to normal. Remember, you are not the only smart hack in the world. 
So, what would make you swim against the tide? 
1.Maintain a network of friends in the company and outside. Keep track of all things that are happening around you – in your company and in the larger ecosystem. There should be friends in the company who speak for you, among your peers, among your mangers and among the leadership. 
Remember, your case is best argued not by you, but by someone else. That’s why even lawyers hire lawyers for litigations.
2. The real managers emerge in crisis. The best captain is the one who steer the ship when it is hit by an iceberg. Otherwise, a captain sits in the starboard seat watching through the window. At best, smoking a cigar. 
Understand the pulse of your company and step in to resolve issues and guide the team and company into new directions. It could be to design a new product that can be sold in the healthcare sector, do virtual sales of your products, save cost by relinquishing some unused assets and so on. Come up with ideas, sell your ideas internally and execute it with agility. 
3. Adapt to the new scenario like a clever chameleon. That’s what you have been tutored by your leadership and in management classes for a long time. Embrace the Change. This is the greatest change of your life time. Your survival would solely depend on your ability to embrace the change and swim around in the violent, sky-high waves with ease. 
Remember, everything being encountered now would be new to you and your company. Therefore, whatever you have learnt in your management classes and in the boardrooms would not be of great use. Design your strategy, break down into plans and execute it with agility. 
4. Last, but not the least. Befriend everyone, but trust none. Consider you are sailing in the “Titanic” and the news has just come that the unsinkable is sinking. Your sole moto would be your survival. It would be good to have many friends so that someone throws a life jacket at you while picking up his, yet another shouts at you to run through the corridor instead of running into the steam room and so on. 
Remember if there is only one life jacket among three of you, you are mostly going to be misguided that there is another heap of life jacket in the next room. 
None is going to save you at the cost of their lives. You are on your own.


Ameer Shahul

Ameer Shahul, a post graduate in science and management,  has excelled in areas of journalism, PR and is presently public policy and advocacy expert at IBM, Bengaluru

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