Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 was a discouraging day for the 1,700 Target Corporation employees from the Twin Cities that were laid off as a part of Target’s efforts to try to save $500 million this fiscal year. This was the largest effort to downsize in the history of the company and it left many people upset and uncertain about their future. I first heard about these massive layoffs at work, where a woman who had been laid off after 23 years of employment was drinking at the bar with her husband and friends; trying to lighten the blow of such an unfortunate situation with a few bottles of wine.
In victory you deserve champagne.
In defeat, you need it.
– Napoleon Bonaparte
I didn’t ask about the details of her being laid off, but after word circulated around the bar about her situation, different people from all sides of the restaurant were pulling over me and my coworker to ask us to put her dinner on their tab or buy them a bottle of wine, while other people approached her to offer their condolences and even inquire about her qualifications to help her find a new job. It was inspiring to see strangers so inclined to help each other out and the support that filled the room was overwhelming and brought an air of hope to an otherwise dismal situation. I have good faith that she will be able to find employment soon and be able to carry on with her life soon, despite this unfortunate roadblock that she has stumbled across. Her situation and the entirety of the Target layoffs tell a truth about life that many people do not want to believe.
Job security is an illusion. Nothing is certain and everything is subject to change.
No matter how hard you work, how much education you have or what your qualifications are, anything that you work for can be taken away in the blink of an eye. CEOs get outed by their own companies, budget cuts and layoffs are made, entire corporations can be bought and sold and even entire industries can be dissolved. We all are subject to having things fall apart, no matter how much work we put into keeping them together. Most people may not ever experience this, but it is important to realize that it does happen and it can happen at any moment.
Many people believe that the phrase “survival of the fittest” means that only the strong or the smart individuals will survive when natural selection acts upon a population. This is a big misconception in evolutionary biology that can be apply to many aspects of life. Survival of the fittest means that the individuals who are “most well-adapted to the current environment” survive. Being adaptable and malleable is more important in the long run than any specific qualifications. Maintaining an open mind, pursuing our passions and always being ready to take any sort of obstacle head-on is the way to survive a setback like this. We can change to meet the demands of our environment, and adapt to be able to thrive in it.
The Target layoffs, while being a huge blow to many people in Minneapolis, is a cloud with a silver lining. Now that all off this experienced talent has been let go from Target, other companies in the Twin Cities are waiting to swoop up newly available employees, a win for both parties involved. I have high hopes for these people and for those companies, who will hopefully value their employees in a way that Target did not.
Stay positive and keep moving forward my friends.