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Workplace Realities

key_art_fox_television_classicsI received a press release recently about a new television show that Fox plans to launch by late summer or early fall. As if real life isn’t harsh enough, now we can watch a reality show titled Someone’s Gotta Go, which will use real businesses across the country and give employees the power to decide which of them will be let go.

What? Who is the genius behind this one?

I can’t imagine the entertainment value in something like this—but the release describes it as Survivor meets The Office. It goes on to say that the show will revolve around companies typically composed of up to 20 people who have been forced to make staff reductions due to the sour economy. Instead of the boss making the cut, the employees will decide who gets booted off their cubicle islands.


I don’t like it and I haven’t even seen it, but the idea holds no appeal to me. As an employment professional, I have seen too many good and talented people be let go of late, and too many companies struggling to make unpleasant decisions in the face of financial difficulties.

However, my spirits were bolstered much more by the results of an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of, a site described as a workforce community where anyone can find and anonymously share real-time reviews and information about specific employers, at no charge. The survey showed that despite issues of job security and pay raises, the majority of employees have a surprising level of optimism relating to their own ability to sidestep layoffs and the overall future of their employers. According to the responses of nearly 1,600 participants:

74 percent have no layoff concerns—but 44 percent have concerns about potential coworker layoffs.

86 percent think their company’s outlook will stay the same or improve in the next six months.

36 percent expect annual raises.

39 percent think it is somewhat likely that they will find a job matched to their historical experience and compensation within six months should they lose their job.

70 percent are willing to take on more projects and responsibility to keep their job.

62 percent would agree to work more hours to stay employed.

48 percent would not take a pay cut to keep their job—but 40 percent would do so.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) also offers a new poll that shows how companies are feeling on some of these same matters. This one provides the measures employers expect to enforce in order to survive the next six months, if the recession continues. Budget cuts (43 percent) came in first, while 40 percent said their companies will allow attrition and another 40 percent will implement hiring freezes.  Freezing employee wages (37 percent) ranked fourth, followed by employee bonus cuts (32 percent) with implementation of layoffs (24 percent) as the sixth most-liked tactic.

I think the producers of Something’s Gotta Give need to know that the big push is to save jobs, not sacrifice them. In fact, a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll on the economy conducted in late March showed that 62 percent of the employed people who participated would accept a pay cut to save a coworker’s job. How about a show about these folks?

Now that, would be good television.

Nancy Schuman is a vice president at Lloyd Staffing, headquartered in Melville, and is the author of seven how-to books on career guidance and job-search techniques. Lloyd Staffing offers temporary, contract and full-time employment services on a regional and national basis. Send your career-related questions to

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