hr http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9009/all en-US How to Get Laid Off: A Step-By-Step Guide http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/907575_56607736.jpg" alt="The Axe" title="The Axe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems ironic in this economy, and with a high unemployment rate, that anyone would want advice about getting kicked from a job. But last week a question was posed to me, and it was genuine &mdash; &ldquo;How do I get laid off?&rdquo;</p> <p>When I dug below the surface of the question, I realized that the person in question was just done with the job (<a href="http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1883614,00.html ">like this</a>), but didn&rsquo;t want to quit outright. Instead, being laid off was a <a href="http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/feature/2001/02/26/can_t_get_laid_off/index.html">more favorable option</a>, with reasons including severance pay, vesting for stock options, contractual obligations, and a much more fitting job opening up soon in another company. Some people even call this the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.mcclatchydc.com/economy/story/74721.html">no job vacation</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p>In this obviously rare situation, quitting is not ideal. Being <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lost-my-job-tips-for-the-recently-laid-off">laid off</a> is a better solution, but believe it or not, being let go or even &ldquo;fired&rdquo; can be difficult if you&rsquo;ve been doing everything right. You need to change the dynamic. As someone so tactfully explained to me, it&rsquo;s like purposely acting like a jerk in a relationship so that the other person breaks up with you.</p> <p>So, if you&rsquo;re in the awkward position of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-hate-my-job" title="&quot;I Hate My Job&quot; Guide">looking for a way out</a> of your current job, here are some tips I have received from different industry professionals and HR websites that give you a way out without destroying your career. Some are perfectly ethical, others, well you decide for yourself.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/b/bt/btafly/1051811_exit_sign.jpg" /></p> <p><strong>To start with, the ethical list:</strong></p> <p>1. First and foremost, check in with HR to see what kind of severance pay and other benefits your company offers. You need to know where you stand.</p> <p>2. If all looks well, let HR know that you&rsquo;d volunteer to take redundancy if there was downsizing at the company. Not only are you making life a whole lot easier for HR, you&rsquo;re also planting the seed that you&rsquo;re not 100% committed to the job.</p> <p>3. Let other people take credit for your good work. And, adversely, you can take some of the blame for projects that went wrong. Even if you weren&rsquo;t actually working on it, people love a scapegoat.</p> <p>4. Nurture your own replacement. If you see a bright, shining star with serious ambition, you can let everyone know that they&rsquo;re perfect for your role. A few comments here and there like &ldquo;wow, that Brian kid is one amazing worker&hellip;he&rsquo;s even teaching me a thing or two, and I earn way more than him!&rdquo; OK, well choose your own words, but you get the idea.</p> <p>5. Start using up your remaining vacation time. This is free money and it&rsquo;s also a good way to get noticed for being absent a lot.</p> <p>6. Have a computer? It&rsquo;s time to become a web surfer. Employers really don&rsquo;t like you using the Internet at work to do your shopping and watch movie trailers. Don&rsquo;t be blatant about it, but if Ebay is on the screen whenever your boss walks by, it won&rsquo;t make you look like employee of the month.</p> <p>7. Sleep at your desk during your breaks. Not every day, but dozing off once in a while can certainly help you stand out as a mediocre employee. If you don&rsquo;t have a desk, use the break room or another public place. Remember, there&rsquo;s nothing that says you can&rsquo;t take a nap during your breaks&hellip;it just doesn&rsquo;t look great.</p> <p>8. Renegotiate your salary. It&rsquo;s usually a delicate subject but now, you have nothing to lose. It can give you the confidence to ask for more and you may just get it, giving you a reason to stay. If you have a new job offer, why not take the terms you received at your new job and ask your old job if they will match it?</p> <p>9. Look into employee benefits and start asking thoughtful, insightful questions. For instance, why doesn't your company have a day care program? What&rsquo;s the paternity leave policy? Can I get reimbursement for professional conferences? Start circulating this discussion among other employees. At the very least, you will stand out as a hero to them and, possibly, a thorn in the side of HR.</p> <p>10. Start enjoying every available company perk. If you have employee discount programs, use them often and in large amounts. If you get reimbursed for further education, take lots of classes.</p> <p>11. Talk enthusiastically about additional education and training in a field completely unrelated to your job. For example, if you work at a tech company, talk about how excited you are about getting your new real estate license.</p> <p>12. The most important rule, and the simplest: Do the minimum. Be less than you can be. You should never be exceeding expectations if you&rsquo;re looking for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">pink slip</a>. As I heard once, &ldquo;she had delusions of mediocrity.&rdquo; So should you. This is a surefire way to place your head on the layoff chopping block, and when used with another tip from above, it could get you the pink slip and severance package you&rsquo;re looking for.</p> <p>Now, I also got a whole lot more tips that were phrased as &ldquo;more sketchy&rdquo; ways to get laid off or fired. I would say some of them are unpleasant, others just plain rude. I would also say that this is a list of <strong>things you should avoid</strong> in your quest for the pink slip. This may get you fired, but you don't want to burn a bridge completely that may affect your career later down the road.</p> <p><img src="http://www.sxc.hu/pic/m/b/ba/baikahl/238129_hands_thumbsdown.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>13. Take a look at the code of conduct for your office and begin to bend a few rules, or even break them. Start to mess around with the dress code. Play your music a little louder.</p> <p>14. Create your own, more flexible hours. Turning up five minutes late, taking longer lunch breaks and leaving early shows a nice lack of commitment.</p> <p>15. Redirect your efforts to the wrong places. Spend 8 hours on a pointless task that should take 30 minutes. Rush a job that needs more attention. You&rsquo;re still doing your job, but you&rsquo;re doing it poorly.</p> <p>16. Get noticed for all the wrong reasons. If you have a lot of meetings to go to, don&rsquo;t feel afraid to make comments that are completely inane or make no sense at all. You can also say nothing, and spend the whole meeting doodling and staring out of the window. Put you phone on extra-loud and get people to call you all day. Let your appearance go, stop brushing your hair, allow a stain or two to appear on your shirts.</p> <p>17. Be annoying. A great way to do this is to start cornering people with pointless questions that are a waste of time. Spend 10 minutes discussing something that should take 10 seconds. Ask the most obvious questions that you should already know the answers to. Hang around in the coffee room and start long conversations. When people start to avoid you, you&rsquo;re on your way.</p> <p>18. Become the biggest naysayer in history. Now, every idea is a bad idea. Nothing will work. The coffee tastes bad. The boss sucks. No one wants to work with someone so negative, and it puts you at the top of the lay-off pile.</p> <p>19. Stop smiling. Be miserable. Act depressed. Remove yourself from conversations. Use one word answers. If you can&rsquo;t annoy people with your loud music and silly comments, you can get under their skin by being about as much fun as a funeral.</p> <p>20. Start forgetting things. Small things, big things, just have a memory like a cargo net. From meetings you should be at, to vital tasks, this is another surefire way to raise the red flag that your time has come.</p> <p>21. Interrupt people, often, and with nothing more to add. That guy who keeps butting in when you&rsquo;re talking, only to basically repeat what you just said, well maybe he&rsquo;s looking for a way out of the door.</p> <p>22. Memorize a bunch of useless quotes and start repeating them whenever possible, especially if they&rsquo;re out of context. You can make quite an impression in a meeting if you&rsquo;re asked for projected sales figures and instead come back with &ldquo;Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.&rdquo;</p> <p>23. Send emails &ldquo;accidentally&rdquo; to the wrong people, revealing facts and figures that should not have been revealed. If the boss gets an email from you that was clearly meant for someone else, and the contents are less than flattering, that will certainly be a red mark against you. You can also send pointless or personal emails to the whole company instead of just friends, like a funny youtube video or your own ad for a garage sale.</p> <p>24. Be messy. Stop cleaning up after yourself in the break room. Miss the trash can when you throw things away. Leave your office or cubicle looking like the aftermath of a twister. Untidy is one thing. Being a slob is quite another.</p> <p>25. Use the office equipment for personal use, including job searching (obviously not the actual one you&rsquo;re going to). It may even be prudent to leave your resume in the photocopier. And make plenty of personal calls, preferably talking loudly while doing so.</p> <p>26. Do not keep secrets. If the boss tells you something private and personal, and asks you to keep your mouth shut, you may want to let that one slip out.</p> <p>27. Start parking in the reserved spots. It will really bug those people who think a reserved car parking spot is important, and they will most likely be in charge.</p> <p>28. Become a prankster on a daily basis. Whoopee cushions under chairs in the meeting rooms. Fart gas. Glue on the phones. Once is enough, but when you keep doing it you become a disruptive pain.</p> <p>So there you have it; some advice to follow, and even more advice to avoid. Do you have any more tips? Do you think anyone trying to get laid off is just asking for trouble? Let us know. And remember, this is not advice for most of us &mdash; just the few people who desperately want an exit strategy.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-you-deserve-to-get-fired">12 Reasons You Deserve to Get Fired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-good-reasons-to-become-a-contractor">8 Good Reasons to Become a Contractor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building benefits downsizing fired How-To Guide hr pink slip severance Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 3746 at http://www.wisebread.com Incentive plans always go awry http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/incentive-plans-always-go-awry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/carrot-incentive.jpg" alt="Carrot Incentive" title="Carrot Incentive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="344" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever worked someplace that had an incentive plan (as in, &quot;Hit these targets and you'll get a bonus&quot;)?&nbsp; Ever been a manager whose job it was to administer an incentive plan?&nbsp; Ever tried to create an incentive plan, hoping to get people to do more of what you want them to do?&nbsp; Here's a little tidbit for you:&nbsp; Incentive plans always go awry.</p> <p>I don't mean to say that incentive plans don't work.&nbsp; They just never do what you want them to do.&nbsp; Here's why:&nbsp; They replace intrinsic motivation with extrinsic motivation.</p> <h2>Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation</h2> <p>Ever seen a kid <a href="/how-to-become-an-expert">try to learn</a> how to do something he wants to be able to do?&nbsp; (For example, learn to beat a level on a video game or learn to jump a skateboard up onto a wall?)&nbsp; If so, you've seen intrinsic motivation.&nbsp; I've seen kids spend hours, doing the same thing over and over again, until they get it right.&nbsp; People offering bonuses have seen the same thing too.&nbsp; That kind of concentrated hard work is what they're trying to get, only they want it focused on <strong>their</strong> project.</p> <p>They're never going to succeed, because only intrinsic motivation does that.</p> <p>That's not to say that extrinsic motivation doesn't have an effect.&nbsp; Offer a bonus, and people will try to get the bonus.&nbsp; But observe:&nbsp; Their motivation is not to accomplish your goal--it's to &quot;get the bonus.&quot;</p> <h2>Incentive programs and metrics</h2> <p>Any kind of incentive program has a metric--the thing that you're measuring to decide whether someone gets the bonus.&nbsp; For salesmen, it might be a target number of sales.&nbsp; For the quality-control guy, it might be keeping the number of bad units below some level.&nbsp; For a corporate executive, it might be some level of return on investment.</p> <p>Whatever metric you pick, though, it will be something that can be gamed.&nbsp; A salesman can sell more units a dozen different ways: &nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>He can stop pushing a single right-sized unit and start getting customers to buy two or three smaller units.</li> <li>He can make aggressive use of financing to sell units to people who can't afford them.</li> <li>He can stop providing support for his old customers and spend all his time chasing up sales to new customers.</li> <li>He can make wink-and-nod deals to &quot;sell&quot; units with the understanding that they'll be returned next quarter.</li> <li>He can kick back a fraction of his bonus to purchasing agents who buy what he's selling.</li> </ul> <p>Now, the head office can thwart any of these moves.&nbsp; It can change the bonus metric from number of units to number of dollars in sales or number of dollars of profits.&nbsp; (Then the salesman puts all his effort into selling the most expensive or most profitable units.)&nbsp; It can delay credit for vendor-financed units until the bill gets paid.&nbsp; (Then the salesman stops using vendor financing even for customers where it makes sense.)&nbsp; It can mandate a certain amount of time spent supporting existing customers.&nbsp; (Measured how?&nbsp; Answer:&nbsp; According to some metric that the salesman can game just as easily.)&nbsp; In fact, it can spend all its time fiddling with the incentive plan, to the point where the head-office folks don't have time to do their own jobs--but nothing it can do will keep employees from gaming the metric, and nothing it can do will produce intrinsic motivation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The point is that, under an incentive plan, <strong>everything is worse</strong>.&nbsp; Everybody's focused on the metric, and nobody's focused on doing the work that needs to get done.</p> <p>Notice what the underlying assumption is:&nbsp; that the employees haven't already thought about what's best for the company and what's best for their customers.&nbsp; That their intrinsic motivation is something other than doing a good job.&nbsp; Some employers no doubt have plenty of disgruntled, unmotivated employees just there to pick up a paycheck for the least work they can get away with--but the answer to <strong>that</strong> problem is figuring out what's gone so terribly wrong with the business.</p> <h2>What to do instead</h2> <p>Whenever I point out that incentive plans make things worse, people always say, &quot;But what should we do instead?&quot;</p> <p>Of course, just asking the question shows that you haven't grasped the essential point:&nbsp; <strong>Incentive plans make things worse</strong>.&nbsp; It's like whacking yourself on the foot with a hammer.&nbsp; The first thing to do is to stop.&nbsp; Once you've done that, you can focus on aligning employee's intrinsic motivation with the firm's business needs.</p> <p>First, think for a minute about what people's intrinsic motivations are.&nbsp; My own experience is with software engineers.&nbsp; They're strongly motivated to:</p> <ul> <li>do new, cool stuff with the latest technology</li> <li>do work that's worth doing</li> <li>gain the respect of their peers</li> </ul> <p>Clever managers can use that to get employees to do what needs to get done.&nbsp; (For example, by making sure that every engineer gets to do some new, cool stuff, by not assigning pointless work and making sure that engineers understand why a task that might seem pointless is worth doing, and by making sure that everybody gets to see some of what their coworkers are doing.)</p> <p>Most managers, though, have a different focus.&nbsp; They're too busy &quot;managing&quot; to have time to explain why the pointless work is worth doing--to them, it's worth doing because senior managers assigned it--and the new, cool projects go to key employees, because they're high-visibility, must-succeed projects and putting a junior engineer on it would be too risky.</p> <p>With intrinsic motivations out of the picture, managers have to fill the gap with extrinsic motivations--praise, raises, promotions, and bonuses.</p> <p>It's important to note that there's nothing wrong with any of these things--managers should lavish their employees with all of them.&nbsp; What's wrong is <strong>using them as an incentive</strong>.&nbsp; As soon as you do that, you've got your employees trying to hit the metric, rather than doing what needs to be done.</p> <h2>Minimizing the harm</h2> <p>Even though the harmful effects of incentive plans have been known for a long time, and the harm has been throughly documented--See for example, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes</cite></a> by Alfie Kohn--they haven't gone away.&nbsp; How then can we minimize the harm that they do?</p> <h3>For managers</h3> <p>First, remember that the harm is done by having an incentive tied to some metric.&nbsp; It does no harm to pay people for their work, nor does it do any harm to offer a bonus that isn't tied to an incentive plan.&nbsp; For example, a profit-sharing plan does no harm, and is often a good idea for everyone involved.&nbsp; (It means that the employer can lower payroll costs during bad times without having to lay people off or cut salaries.)</p> <p>Second, if you have to have a metric, make it something that employees have no control over--total profits, for example.&nbsp; This will be de-motivating, of course--employees will be frustrated at having a bonus plan that's essentially a lottery ticket--but not as bad as if all your employees are spending their time trying to hit the metric.</p> <p>Third, if you have a bonus tied to a metric, keep the bonus as small as possible.&nbsp; That way your employees can continue to follow their intrinsic motivations to do a good job without feeling like chumps for not gaming the bonus system.</p> <p>Fourth, don't set your employees up to be competing against one another.&nbsp; You want your employees to be collaborating.&nbsp; Putting them in competition for a bonus is exactly the wrong thing to do.</p> <p>Fifth, don't waste time trying to come up with a metric that your employees can't game.&nbsp; It's impossible.&nbsp; Unless their job is absolutely trivial, it will always be easier to maximize the metric than to do a good job.&nbsp; Any effort you put into creating a perfect metric is wasted effort.</p> <p>To the greatest extent possible, though, avoid incentive plans.&nbsp; If your business has any kind of reasonable structure, your employee's intrinsic incentives are already aligned with the business's interests.&nbsp; (If they aren't--if your employee's natural inclinations to do work that's worth doing and to do it well doesn't lead them to do what you need done--then <strong>that</strong> might be a good place to focus your managerial efforts.)</p> <h3>For employees</h3> <p>I don't actually have much useful advice for employees suffering under an incentive program, except to try to find employers where the incentive programs are small and the target metrics are out of employee's control.</p> <p>Really, your natural inclinations are going to be the right ones.&nbsp; If the bonus is small enough to be ignored, just ignore it and do your job.&nbsp; If the bonus is so large that you can't ignore it, put in whatever effort it takes to get the bonus, and then spend the rest of your time doing whatever you should have been doing.&nbsp; But you knew that already.</p> <p>Everybody should read Alfie Kohn's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0618001816?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0618001816"><cite>Punished By Rewards</cite></a>. It will change the way you think about incentive plans--and change it for the better.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/incentive-plans-always-go-awry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/motivating-yourself-and-others">Motivating Yourself and Others</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-employees">How to hire employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-modern-company-as-specialized-venture-capital-firm">Modern companies as specialized venture capital firms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walking-away-from-a-job-that-s-going-away-on-your-terms">Walking away (from a job that’s going away) on your terms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-keys-to-great-management-learned-from-an-inner-city-mission-worker">10 Keys to Great Management, learned from an inner-city mission worker</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income bonus hr human resources incentive plan incentive plans incentive program incentive programs incentives management managers managing Thu, 27 Mar 2008 18:04:00 +0000 Philip Brewer 1952 at http://www.wisebread.com