March 13th, 2009
But employees aren’t the only ones who grapple with layoff gossip. As a freelancer and contractor, I’ve recently had to temper my monitoring of the downsizing rumor mill about several of my clients. On the one hand, you want to stay informed of budget and headcount cuts so you can plan accordingly (save your pennies, find new clients, be sensitive to editors enduring employment upheaval). On the other, you don’t want to fall so far down the rumor rabbit hole that you can’t think straight.
In other words, you don’t want to be like the freelance journalist I interviewed for my column who said this:
“I get obsessed with the gossip to the point that I become unproductive. Instead of pursuing the work I have, I’m chasing down the latest choice tidbit on whether this other business is going to close. I’m on the phone with colleagues, I’m reading all the blogs, tuning in to the TV, to Twitter, you name it. It’s probably all a waste of time, but hope springs eternal and all that.”
I can relate to this. As a reporter, I love a juicy story too, especially when it affects my own life and livelihood. I’ve certainly lost a couple afternoons in recent weeks tracking the latest newspaper body count. But I’m trying to remember that if I don’t do the work that’s already on my plate I could be next in line to get the boot.
How about you? How do you deal with the layoff rumors swirling around your star clients?