Downsizing Casualties – A form of Professional PTSD?

HR Planning and Strategy courses eventually come around to the distasteful topic of “downsizing”. They talk about “survivors” and politely organic methods of reducing headcounts, like attrition, and smart moves like work redesign and evolution, but there are many times when an organization – rightly or wrongly – just chooses to cut bodies. 

For those of us who have been through it, it’s an awful, heart-wrenching experience. 

In many cases, we want to be a survivor. We want to be the ones found worthy or valuable and we can continue with the polite fiction of “better them than me”, and “they’ll be OK”.  Or we just don’t think about it at all, hunker down, and get our work done, hoping we won’t be next as we look at empty workstations or see stunned staff getting walked out the door. 

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